Bay College administration, community members, react to failed millage request

Published: Nov. 6, 2019 at 3:57 PM EST
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Bay College is currently working to find a new plan to improve their infrastructure. This, after a decisive vote in Delta County to decline a millage request from the Community College.

The proposed point .8924 millage to cover operating costs, and a Headly Override amendment at Bay Community College was defeated Tuesday night by a vote of 5,332 to 1,874. Those who voted no, hope the college gets the message.

"Agencies looking for millages need to take this as a mandate from the public that you need to start operating within your budget, and stop going back to the till,” said James Hellermann, an Escanaba resident and small business owner.

Bay College President, Dr. Laura Coleman says the message has been received loud and clear.

"We need to prioritize what we are looking at, what needs to be done and find other ways of funding that,” said Coleman.

Bay College officials are currently looking for those other sources of funding, but have added that if none are available, they may need to make some cuts to their infrastructure upgrade project.

"Conversations are just beginning and the majority of it was all about infrastructure needs, and so we'll have to just see if some of those don't get done,” said Coleman.

While Bay College officials may be disappointed with the result, they acknowledge that the support they receive from the community is second to none.

"It was really a great experience for all of us, being able to have conversations with grandparents and parents about how Bay College changed their lives, and how it changed their kids’ lives, and even their grandkids’ lives," said Coleman.

College officials say they hope to avoid raising tuition for their students at all costs while still providing a high quality education. They added they have no plans to propose a millage in the next few years.

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