Free Park Access for Seniors, Veterans, and Disabled is on the Ballot

Seniors, military veterans, and residents with permanent disabilities will be offered free annual vehicle passes to parks operated by Oakland County under a funding proposal that appears on the November 3 ballot.

Oakland County has 13 Parks

Oakland County voters in the upcoming general election will decide the fate of a proposal from the Oakland County Board of Commissioners to increase funding for Oakland County’s 13 parks. The ballot question asks residents to approve a new property tax rate of .35 mills to pay for park maintenance and development.

Currently, the county’s park system is funded by a millage that will expire on December 31, 2021, if not renewed or replaced. This millage has never been increased since it was enacted at .25 mills in 1966. The levy has actually been decreased to its current level of .2310 mills due to the effect of the 1978 Headlee Amendment.

When the .25 millage rate was established back in 1966, Oakland County operated only one park of 190 acres. Today, the county’s park system comprises 7,000 acres in 13 parks and nearly 80 miles of trails. County officials have asked voters to discontinue the old .25 millage and replace it with a new .35 millage. The new millage will pay for deferred maintenance and construction projects to refresh aging park amenities, new equipment, and conservation and environmental sustainability efforts. Adoption of the new millage will also pay for free annual park passes for Oakland County residents who are seniors (age 62+), activity duty military, military veterans, or those who have permanent disabilities.

The cost of the new millage to the owner of a home or business with a market value of $200,000 (taxable value of $100,000) would be approximately $35 per year. This would be an increase of approximately $12 per year from the existing rate of .2310 mills. Here is a list of Oakland County park facilities affected by this ballot proposal.

About Deborah J. Larsen

Deborah J. Larsen recently retired after 34 years as local history librarian at Mount Clemens Public Library. She currently serves as the research chairperson for the Rochester-Avon Historical Society, and writes on a wide range of local history topics.

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