A Thumbody Express bus.
A Thumbody Express bus.

Ballots in Caro, Akron, Millington, and Wisner give voters a chance to decide Tuesday on various issues, including emergency services, transportation, and roads.

The four millages are:

  • Akron Township Emergency Services Millage Proposal Renewal
  •  Wisner Township Road Millage Renewal
  • Millington Township’s Fire Department Operational Millage Renewal
  • Caro Transit Authority Millage Increase Proposal (the only non-renewal millage on the ballot)

The millage increase for the Caro Transit Authority equates to 1 mill, or $1 per $1,000 of taxable value for a period of six years (2017-2022). If approved, the increase would raise about $191,000 in 2017. The millage applies to Indianfields Township, Almer Township, and Caro. The increase was on the August primary, but failed while a renewal millage for the authority passed.

Brian Neuville, deputy director of Human Development Commission in Caro, said having two millages on the same ballot caused confusion.

He said he hopes the millage passes Tuesday so the Caro Transit Authority can expand offerings.

“We want to expand services and extend hours to the general public,” said Neuville.

Currently, the Caro Transit Authority operates  Thumbody Express as a demand-response service transporting people from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Reservations are made in advanced until 4:30 p.m. The service provides transportation to residents in the city of Caro, Almer and Indianfields townships.

The cost to ride is $3, or $1.50 for seniors and the disabled. There is an additional fee to travel outside the shuttle’s range. The service provided about 67,000 rides last year.

Expanding services means Thumbody Express – the public transportation service that serves Indianfields and Almer Charter townships and the city of Caro – could hire new staff, including aides who could assist travelers.

Long-term goals include expansion into Sanilac and Huron counties; plans that could be bolstered through passage of the millage.

“If the millages passes new projects would go in place,” said Neuville. “If it doesn’t pass we’ll definitely go after it again in the future, and the services will continue satisfying the status quo but we wouldn’t be able to expand hours or services. It’s all contingent with all the funding from the state and federal level because that goes up and down too.”

Other area millages include Millington Township Fire Department Millage Renewal, a proposal that Millington Township Clerk Sheila Hebner said has been on the ballot several years.

The proposal asks residents of the township to approve the early renewal of $.4337 per $1,000 of taxable value and levied for eight years – 2018 to 2025 – for the use of fire department operations like first responder services, equipment purchasing and housing.

Hebner said she hopes the millage passes like it did in years past, but every time it went to the polls she said it was always approved.

“Millington Township has always supported the fire department but if we no longer had a fire department, I guess we would have to find another, but I never thought about it,” said Hebner.

Wisner Township Road Millage Renewal asks residents to renew the $2 per $1,000 of taxable value from 2016 to 2022.

Township Clerk Pam Shook said without the millage passing again, the township would not be able to have upkeep and renewal on township roads, as the Tuscola County Road Commission only handles primary roadwork.

“I’m not sure when it went onto the ballot,” Shook said. “But it has been there for the 20 years since I’ve been in the area.”

And the Akron Township Emergency Services Millage Proposal Renewal, would renew the township’s fire and ambulance services. Township Clerk Ann Allen said the millage covers emergency services in Akron Township including ACW-Unionville Fire Department — which serves Akron, Columbia and Wisner townships — Akron Fire Department and ACW Ambulance Service.

If approved the millage would take up to $.99 per $1,000 of the taxable real and personal property in Akron Township for fire and ambulance services and equipment and would be renewed for another five years starting in 2017 and ending in 2021 before getting renewed again.

“We’re just asking for a renewal,” said Allen. “Without it, we wouldn’t have fire and ambulance services.” Allen estimated the fire departments have about 250 calls a year, but was unsure of the number of runs the ambulance receives.

There are currently 1,056 registered voters in Akron Township, 504 in Wisner Township, more than 3,330 voters in Millington Township and about 2,990 in Caro to decide if the proposals should be approved this Tuesday.

Debanina Seaton is a reporter for The Advertiser and can be reached at debanina@tcadvertiser.com

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