DELTA COUNTY, Mich. (WJMN) — Bay College in Escanaba is hoping to have the support of the community next week during elections, as they ask for a new millage.
The 20-year millage will help fund critical college upgrades, such as improvements to campus boilers, roofs, lighting, safety systems and more.
Dr. Laura Coleman, President, Bay Community College said, “We want to be proactive with what we are doing. We know that the boilers are at risk and we know we need to get the safety stuff taken care of and the lighting stuff taken care of and we’ve been doing work on the lighting all along. So, it’s not something that we haven’t worked on, but we just don’t have the money needed to take care of all these boilers and the other things I was talking about. That’s why this needs to be done now and if it isn’t done now, there will be negative consequences that we really don’t want to go down.”
The college says the State of Michigan is not sufficiently funding community college education so that’s why they’re looking for help.
“Every year, we slice stuff out of the operational budget and this year was especially difficult because we’re to a place where we are actually chopping the bark off a tree. We just don’t have anything left that we can really cut, so we need to increase our operational budget a little,” said Dr. Coleman.
The new millage includes a .7 mills increase in the colleges’ operating costs, which will fund the mechanical infrastructure across the entire Escanaba campus, as well as a .1924 mills Headlee restoration.
It will cost about three to eight dollars per month for homeowners, so taxpayers will receive a six dollar return for every dollar that is invested into education.