The results of this month’s general election were generally good for municipalities seeking funding approval or renewal from voters. In Lapeer County, it was somewhat surprising that two measures did not pass—a millage renewal request for Goodland Township Library operations and a new millage request that would have helped cover costs for Animal Control.
With an ongoing pandemic and its impact on the economy, it wouldn’t have been shocking if voters exercised more caution and other requests had failed, but that wasn’t the case. Several ballot proposals, like Imlay City’s streets and roads renewal and the Lapeer County VA’s request, passed by fairly wide margins. It makes those of us who cover elections and local government wonder what factors were in play.
Both entities have made progress in recent years to improve or expand their offerings. Since 2013, Lapeer County Animal Control revamped many of their policies and procedures regarding euthanasia and adoption and the county commission allocated funds to make necessary upgrades to the shelter after volunteers and animal advocates raised concerns. Those changes have allowed the shelter to reduce their euthanasia rate to less than one percent.
In the past, the agency’s director, Dave Eady, expressed wonder at the near daily donations dropped off at the shelter’s door.
In Goodland Township, the library has been operating independently for nearly a decade since parting ways with the Lapeer District Library. In that time, the library’s board and staff have continued to grow their materials collection and services and created a rather popular programming series for both children and adults.
Goodland taxpayers will eventually pay some sort of library district assessment regardless of their branch’s fate. Although library proponents expressed this fact during the campaign, it’s possible not enough voters heard the message.
Due to the pandemic and anticipated funding cuts at nearly all levels of government, a lot of uncertainties lie ahead. We hope that local leaders will do what they can to make well-informed decisions when it comes to funding these and other important public services—decisions that heed the public’s will while valuing the progress made.