By Jessica Mathews /

Discussions are underway regarding the renewal of a millage dedicated to veteran services in Livingston County.

A three-year millage previously approved by voters to fund programs and services for local veterans is set to expire next year. The Livingston County Veterans Committee held a hybrid meeting Wednesday evening and talked about what millage amount to levy next year but also what ballot proposal to potentially put forward in 2022. It was clarified that funds can only be used for things like assisting with veteran relief and programs, not on roads.

The department also receives grant funding through the Michigan Veterans Services Administration and in order to keep that, the current .1127 rate is the lowest amount that can be levied. Information on next year’s rate needs to be provided in February. For the past two years, the millage rate has been .1127 but there is the ability to go up to .139 for the last year. Director Mary Durst commented that she thinks they can easily justify the current rate with everything going on but felt it was good to start discussions and get ideas as that rate will play a factor in what they want to levy next year. It appeared the Committee was in favor of sticking with the current rate for the ballot.

Committee Chair Joe Riker commented that his first impression is that they don’t need to go higher thinking on behalf of taxpayers. He said he thought they have a lot to prove leading up to February - especially as they get into the new building and more programs start and more awareness is generated to be able to justify it.

Riker said ideally they would like the millage request to go on the August ballot as there is usually high turnout and a better representation of what voters want. He noted that if it didn’t pass, they could always revamp the proposal and put it on the November ballot based on voter feedback. The department is moving to a new office and will be leasing space in a building next to the Michigan Secretary of State office in Genoa Township. Riker said that will give them time to get in the new office and make a huge difference in the community by expanding services and awareness.

More discussion regarding the millage renewal and next year’s levy is expected at the Committee’s next meeting as not all members were present Wednesday.