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Voters to decide on Ingham County Animal Shelter Millage

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Posted at 11:24 AM, Aug 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-02 11:24:52-04

One of the big issues for Ingham County voters on the ballot today is the tax increase to help build a new county animal shelter.

This issue has people taking sides.

Opponents say tax money should be used elsewhere.

But, supporters say the over 40-year-old Ingham County Animal Shelter needs to go. They want to build a new structure in its place for the sake of the animals, and the people who work there.

The millage is a six year tax increase that would go to operational costs and to build a new shelter.

This means for a home valued around $150,000 that's a tax increase of $18 per year.

If approved, the plan is to build a more efficient and humane shelter on the same property. It would be much larger and allow the shelter to be open more often.

But, not everyone is in support of the new shelter.

While the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce hasn't taken an official position on the issue, they are asking voters to think carefully at the polls.

You have until 8 p.m. to vote.

Here is the full statement from Steven D. Japinga, the Director of Government Relations for the Chamber:

"Although the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce has not taken an official position on the Animal Control Shelter millage, we believe that a clear set of goals and priorities should be established for the residents and businesses in Ingham County. We continue to advocate for addressing unfunded liabilities, which in Ingham County, is over $83 million, investing in roads and infrastructure and greater regional leadership. Prioritization of budgets, general fund spending and increased governmental efficiencies should always be a top priority before special taxes are considered. With crumbling roads, increasing unfunded liabilities, public safety and mental health funding challenges, the $9.8 million animal control shelter does not seem to be an essential priority in the best interest of Ingham County residents or businesses. Exploring other regional partnership opportunities such as a closer working relationship with the Capital Area Humane Society should be considered. It is alarming that we are asking tax payers for $9.8 million when the number of animals served by the animal shelter has declined 27 percent since 2011. We encourage all Ingham County voters to think carefully about what our county's priorities should be when they vote on August 2."