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Raisin Township moves forward with new road tax

Raisin Township Board of Trustees moved forward with the intent to create a special assessment district at the Monday, Aug. 11, meeting in the face of community opposition. The five-year, $95-per-parcel agreement was even a point of contention amongst the board.

Township residents Thomas VanSickle and Jim Manley both voiced opposition to the special assessment during public comment.

“This assessment discriminates against the lower income people in this township,” VanSickle said. “Residents who are living in smaller homes are being forced to subsidize residents that can afford to live in much more elaborate homes. If this board adopts this recommendation, you are choosing to follow the path of least resistance.

“Please give the taxpayers of Raisin Township the respect they deserve by requesting a millage instead of demanding it. I would rather be asked instead of told that I will be paying more taxes.”

Manley supported many of VanSickle’s points adding, “I think it is important to allow the people who live in the township to decide how much of their money they want to pay in taxes to receive the services they expect. I agree with Tom [VanSickle], I think this form of taxation, not to be cliché, is really without representation.”

Trustee Debra Brousseau brought up getting a millage on the ballot before the Tuesday, Aug. 12, deadline.

“I, personally, would rather see it go to the voters. I’ve always felt that way. I think it’s their money, their choice,” Brousseau said. “Is that option still on the tale to take it to voters by tomorrow?”

“Deb, the ability to do that is highly unlikely,” said Raisin Township Supervisor Jay Cavanaugh. “We would be also going against the hard work of the road committee that we all unanimously, at the last regular meeting, said that we’d endorsed their recommendations. So, I would use the word sloppy if we were to do that.”

Sandoval awarded title of Chief Master in Year of the Blue Horse

For the first time ever, the American Taekwondo Association (ATA) has a Chief Master in Michigan. Tomas Sandoval was awarded the title of Chief Master by the ATA after an elite ceremony in Little Rock, Ark., on July 9, where he and five others were honored with the title in a traditional Songahm Master Ceremony, Year of the Blue Horse. This year marks a significant time in the Korean culture — the Year of the Blue Horse, which symbolizes strength and renewal.

The month of August is also special to Chief Master Sandoval as it is his 30th anniversary of opening his martial arts studio, Sandoval’s ATA Black Belt Academy, in Tecumseh. “It’s been in the same building, same place, same location for 30 years. I love Tecumseh. It’s a great little town,” he said.

Last year Chief Master Sandoval tested for and was awarded his eighth degree black belt. The Master’s Council considers eighth degrees for the title of Chief Master and makes nominations. It is not an automatic designation. Once nominated, there is a process of conditioning put in place that involves physical and mental training. Chief Master Sandoval trained in Anaheim, Calif., in the spring of this year for five days. The Chief Master candidates then met in June for two days in Little Rock, Ark., at the headquarters of the organization. Before the Chief Master ceremony in July, Sandoval was required to fast for five days to cleanse his body. He began his fast the day after the fourth of July.

“When you’re training for 12 hours, the last three days you have no food,” Chief Master Sandoval said. “So, that’s the hardest part. The challenge I had was you have to be approved by your doctor to do that.”

When testing for his eighth degree black belt last year, Chief Master Sandoval injured his left upper leg muscle when he overextended a kick and it took six months of rehabilitation to heal the severely pulled hamstring.

TPS board reviews goals, millage renewal request

At the Monday, Aug. 11, Tecumseh School Board meeting board members discussed three goal areas that were identified at the board’s retreat in July.

Prior to the retreat, the board completed a self assessment through Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB). At the retreat, a facilitator from MASB walked board members through their results. From that discussion, the three goal areas were identified. They were,

• Student Achievement: Investigative and identify educational programs that will address the needs of all students.

• Facilities and Maintenance Upkeep: Develop a facilities plan that prioritizes and addresses facility needs and provides a master plan for the future.

• Better Marketing of the Positives of the District: Develop a marketing strategy, identify target audience and communicate the plan to stakeholders.

Board members will now pair up and write smart goals in the next few weeks. Smart goals are goals that are measurable, specific and attainable. Once the statements are written, the board will discuss them and approve them at a future meeting.

The board also approved a resolution on the ballot proposal language for the renewal of the 18-mill non-homestead operating millage. The renewal is for four years, and will be on the November 4 ballot.

“By putting it on this ballot with the regular school election, there is no additional cost to the school,” said Supt. Kelly Coffin.

The law requires the school to periodically renew the operating millage in order for Michigan schools to receive full per-pupil state funding.

The board also accepted a $6,300 gift from the Elizabeth Ruthruff Wilson Foundation for the Tecumseh High School band and orchestra. The gift will go towards bibs for the marching band, three cello outfits, two bass outfits for the orchestra and 24 concert jackets.

Runners host 5K in memory of Gonzales and Orlowski

The Tecumseh community continues to provide support to the Gonzales and Orlowski families after the deaths of their sons, Dakota and Curt, in an automobile accident last month. Students on the high school track and cross-country teams were very saddened at the loss of former teammate Gonzales, and have organized a 5K run on August 16 to raise money for the boys’ memorial scholarship.

In addition to the accolades earned by both boys on the Tecumseh soccer team, Gonzales was a standout track student for the school.

“Dakota was one of my best runners on the track team,” said coach Eddy Foley. “The kids on the team came to me and wanted to do something. The memorial 5K was something they could put their energy into.”

“I’m really excited about the 5K because Dakota really loved running, both with the team and with his dad,” Michelle Gonzales, Dakota’s mother, said.

One of the last activities the father and son enjoyed together before Gonzales’ death was The Color Run in Ypsilanti on June 21. Vince is planning on running the memorial 5K on August 16, and the other members of the Gonzales and Orlowski families will also be in attendance.

Michelle is glad Gonzales’ friends and teammates have found an outlet to help with their grief. “I’m just so grateful for the community,” said Michelle. She knows the accident has been devastating, and appreciates the support the community has provided to the families even while grieving for the loss of the young men.

The Run for Dakota and Curt will follow the Tecumseh cross-country course with one change. Knowing how important soccer was to Gonzales and Orlowski, the run will finish on the soccer field. “We’re going to finish on their field,” Foley said.

There is no preregistration for the race. Participants will register at 8 a.m. and the race begins at 9 a.m. Cost for the run is $20, all of which goes to the scholarship fund set up by the Gonzales and Orlowski families.

Tecumseh partners with Adrian to create a SmartZone LDFA

At a special Tecumseh City Council meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 6, a public hearing was held to discuss a resolution to create a SmartZone Local Development Finance Act (LDFA) district in partnership with the City of Adrian. Council unanimously passed the resolution.

The LDFA is a satellite SmartZone to the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti SmartZone LDFA. The City of Adrian passed its resolution to create the multi-jurisdiction SmartZone LDFA on Wednesday as well.

A SmartZone operates by capturing the incremental tax revenue in local taxes along with the six percent school tax. The base tax would be set on December 31.

“Any increase in tax after that point would be captured by the LDFA,” said Tecumseh City Manager Kevin Welch.

Money captured from the incremental tax revenue can be used for public right-of-way projects that directly benefit the business in that district. One such project could be expanding the infrastructure at the Tecumseh Business and Technology Campus.

The money captured from the six percent school tax can be used to entice new companies to the area with training and support programs. These funds do not have to be used for right-of-way projects, and the money taken from the school is replaced by the state, so there is no detrimental effect on school revenue.
Welch made clear that this is not a tax for residents.

In Tecumseh, the SmartZone district includes the Tecumseh Business and Technology Campus, Van-Rob Tecumseh, Tecumseh District Library, Tecumseh Middle School, Tecumseh High School and the Tecumseh Public School Administrative Building. Any tax revenue earned off incremental tax increases at these locations will go toward the SmartZone LDFA.

The SmartZone also includes Adrian’s districts. Adrian included Adrian College, Jackson College, Siena Heights University, Lenawee Intermediate School District (LISD) TECH Center, Adrian Public Library, and numerous Greenfield and Brownfield sites the city owns.

Walberg wins over North for 7th District, other local election results announced

U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Tipton, will be heading to the Nov. 4 ballot against Democrat Pam Byrnes after defeating Douglas Radcliffe North from Jackson for the GOP nomination in the Tuesday, Aug. 5 primary. Byrnes ran unopposed.

Walberg earned 38,047 votes, 79 percent, to North’s 9,993. In Tecumseh, voters supported Walberg by giving him 338 votes to North’s 89.

Countywide, the senior citizen millage renewal passed with 78.15 percent of votes, 6,498 votes cast in support. In Tecumseh, the millage renewal saw support with 624 votes with only 134 votes against it.

The millage, for .5 mills from 2014 to 2020, provides numerous services for senior citizens in the county. It is expected to raise an estimated $1,530,473 the first year. An owner of a home valued at $100,000 will pay no more than $25 a year.

Proposal 1, the state initiative to continue phasing out personal property tax for businesses in the state passed with 69 percent of the vote, 854,339 votes in total. Only 377,655 votes were cast in opposition.

Tecumseh residents supported the proposal 531 to 221. In the county, Proposal 1 passed with 71.18 percent of the vote.

The proposal not only phases out personal property tax for businesses, but also replaces lost municipal revenue. Tecumseh will have the entirety of the $360,000 it earns from personal property tax replaced by the state with expiring state tax credits, a small tax on certain manufacturing items and by part of the use tax paid by out-of-state suppliers.

In the race for the GOP nomination for the Lenawee County Road Commissioner, incumbent Donald Isley lost to Mike Slusarski. Isley earned 2,000 votes while Slusarski edged with the win by earning 2,916 votes.

Slusarski will now go on to face Democrat Richard Youtsey in the November election. Youtsey ran unopposed. In Tecumseh, Slusarski eanred 237 votes to Isley’s 153.

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