Posted on October 11, 2022
Voters in Arcadia Township will be asked in the Nov. 8 election to consider a five year 1 mill increase for the purpose of maintenance and improvements to the Arcadia Lake/Lake Michigan channel.
Township officials brought the request to the voters which would raise an estimated $81,245.35 in the first year because they feel keeping that channel dredged and in good shape is vital to the township economy.
Janice McCraner, Arcadia Township supervisor, said the funds are needed because costs to dredge the channel exceed the funds the township has available to maintain it in its general fund.
McCraner said the harbor plays a key role in Arcadia and without proper maintenance the buildup of sand at the channel entrance will limit boats being able to enter into Arcadia Lake.
“Our township owns the Veterans Memorial Marina in Arcadia and the channel that goes out to Lake Michigan fills up every spring and we are looking at costs of anywhere from $160,000 to $180,000 to dredge it,” she said. “That takes a huge amount of money, so we are asking for the millage to access Lake Michigan.”
McCraner said in the past years the community has built a strong focus around utilizing the assets of being located on Arcadia Lake and the shores of Lake Michigan.
“Our harbor serves as a very important harbor of refuge and supports fishing and recreational navigation interests,” McCraner said. “Our local community has kind of built an infrastructure around the harbor and the lake facilities we have.”
She said that is why this millage request is important to preserve all that has been developed in that focus on fishing and boating activities.
“If we don’t generate this millage to get dredged in the early spring it impacts all our small businesses, and our property values as it is a huge draw to this area that we have access to Lake Michigan,” McCraner said. “It would be an awful loss, so it is so important that it be maintained from filling up with sand.”
McCraner said in previous years when water levels rose sand filling up the channel wasn’t as big of concern.
“Now that the lake levels have gone down it has become a problem and it would be a huge detriment to the community if we couldn’t get access to our veterans marina or Lake Michigan,” McCraner said.
The supervisor said the township board did its due diligence in studying the issue before bringing this proposal to the voters and felt this was the best option for keeping the channel open. They also gave an idea of what the increase will cost taxpayers if the millage is successful.
Something else the supervisor pointed out is the millage would only be used for those dredging purposes.
“It’s not for anything else and specifically for the dredging of the channel,” McCraner said.
McCraner said when township officials met right before the COVID pandemic began, they identified things that were vital to the success of the township in moving into the future.
“Channel dredging, improving outdoor activities, develop eco-tourism, M-22 improvements and biking and hiking improvements were the four main things that came out of there that people wanted to see being encouraged to happen,” McCraner said. “Dredging the channel was number one to gain access to Lake Michigan.”
The ballot proposal reads as follows:
Proposal 1.0 mill for Arcadia-Lake Michigan Channel maintenance improvement
“Shall the limitation on general ad valorem taxes in the Township of Arcadia imposed under Article 9, Section 6 of the Michigan constitution be increased by not more than 1.0 mill ($1.00 per $1,000 of taxable value) and shall such increase be levied for 5 years in 2022-26, inclusive on all taxable real and personal property in the Township of Arcadia for disbursement to the Township of Arcadia for the purpose of funding maintenance/improvement of the channel connecting Arcadia Lake and Lake Michigan in the Township of Arcadia in coordination with the United States Army Corps of Engineers and Michigan Department of Natural Resources, thereby raising an estimated $81,245.35 in the first year the new additional millage is levied.”