ELECTION PREVIEW: Land preservation millage up for renewal in Scio Township

By Amy Bell
abell@heritage.com
Twitter: @amybell9

Residents of Scio Township will vote Nov. 6 on a proposal designed to preserve the area’s rural atmosphere.
The 10-year renewal is for .4942 mills, or $.4942 per every $1,000 of taxable value, from 2014 to 2023. Due to state law, a portion of the revenue will be distributed to the Scio Township Downtown Development Authority and the Village of Dexter Downtown Development Authority.

The millage is for the continued funding of the voluntary purchase of land or interests in land throughout the township. It also enables the township to take advantage of matching funds from the City of Ann Arbor and other sources to preserve farmland, open space, wildlife habitat, scenic views, protect drinking water sources and the water quality of rivers and streams, and provide new parks, recreational opportunities and trails.

The millage is projected to generate approximately $631,000 in the 2014 calendar year.To date, the township’s Land Preservation Program has preserved 706 acres on 11 properties. The farms and properties are protected from development.

The fund also helped preserve the Fox Science Preserve and the Scio Church Woods Nature Preserve and provided permanent public access to two other properties.

During the summer, the township was able to purchase a conservation easement on a property in Streiter Road. The easement will allow for agricultural use and protection of its natural resources while prohibiting residential development.

The project was financed through $355,400 worth of U.S Department of Agriculture Farm and Ranchlands Protection program grants and a $504,600 contribution from the millage.

E. Spaulding Clark, Scio Township supervisor, said the original purpose of the proposal was to protect open space farmland. However, it’s now a bit wider in scope because it also includes public parks but is not necessarily aimed at active recreation.

Clark said the proposal has been very well-received by the community.“This renewal would seem to suggest it’s a desirable thing, and I think most of the community agrees,” said Clark.

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