LMTA to ask Amber Twp. voters for transportation millage.

April 24, 2018

LMTA to ask Amber Twp. voters for transportation millage.

#MasonCountyNews.

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

LUDINGTON — The Ludington Mass Transit Authority board of trustees voted today that it is going to seek the approval of the voters of Amber Township to add public transportation service to that community. A ballot proposal asking the voters of Amber Township to approve 1.25 mills will appear on the May 2019 ballot. If approved, taxpayers from Amber Township will begin paying for service during the summer 2019 tax collection with service beginning Oct. 1, 2019, which is the beginning of LMTA’s fiscal year.

The board voted 3-1, with one abstention.

During public comment, Amber Township Supervisor Jim Gallie expressed that he was against placing the request on the ballot.

“I think it’s too expensive for the number of people that would be served of of Amber Township,” Gallie told the board during public comment.

The 1.25 mills from Amber Township would generate about $110,000. Currently, Ludington taxpayers contribute $259,582 and Scottville taxpayers contribute $20,833. Pere Marquette Township paid $140,000 in 2017. Pere Marquette Township contracts the authority for service and pays a rate of .3.

During its regular monthly meeting in March, the LMTA board discussed the results of a survey recently conducted by Michigan State University in Amber and Hamlin townships.

The survey revealed that 70% of the respondents from Amber Township support public transit while 59% of Hamlin Township respondents support it; collectively 62% of the total respondents support public transit. However, the survey also showed that only 52% of the Amber Township respondents and 46% of Hamlin Township respondents would be willing to pay additional property taxes for public transit, leading LMTA to consider only requesting a millage from Amber Township.

Board member Sue Begue said during the March meeting that a committee tasked at reviewing the survey results determined that the best course of action was to request a separate millage from Amber Township. By law, LMTA must ask for the same millage rate, 1.25 mills, as the other two communities that are part of the authority, the City of Ludington and the City of Scottville. Pere Marquette Charter Township contracts the authority for service and pays a rate of .3.

Up until 2015, LMTA offered service to and from Ludington, Scottville, and Pere Marquette Township, to the Amber Township corridor from Meyers Road (just east of Wal-Mart) to the Scottville city limits.

Chairman Karen Nielsen said LMTA was losing up to $68,000 a year by offering the service.

LMTA Director Dick Collins said Michigan State University was contacted for the survey because it would be able to conduct it objectively. MSU sent 1,992 random survey to Amber and Hamlin townships; the breakdown of how many were sent to each township is unknown. The US Census Bureau estimates the 2016 population of Hamlin Township was 3,416 and Amber Township was 2,537. Of the surveys sent out, 174 were undeliverable, therefore 1,818 were actually delivered; 253 were returned from Amber and 520 were returned from Hamlin, a total of 703 or 37 percent.

LMTA will cover the cost of the election, estimated at $12,000.

This story is copyrighted © 2018, all rights reserved by Media Group 31, LLC, PO Box 21, Scottville, MI 49454. No portion of this story or images may be reproduced in any way, including print or broadcast, without expressed written consent.

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