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Absentee Ballots are Out – Vote YES for a stronger Kent County!

The Chamber has endorsed three questions on the August 6 ballot in Kent County.

The business community is supporting a YES vote on: Destination Kent/Kent County Sports and Entertainment Facilities Proposal, Kent District Library and the Ready by Five Early Childhood Millage.

Read more in Crain’s on why the business community is supporting YES votes:

 

Destination Kent: Transformational Projects with a Tax You Don’t Pay!

The Destination Kent ballot proposal is an increase in the lodging excise tax to support the public financing component of the transformational projects.  

  • The proposal is an increase in the visitor tax applied on hotel/motel stays in Kent County.  
  • Nearly 90% of people who stay in these accommodations are from outside Kent County.  
  • There is a proven track record of leveraging the visitor tax to generate jobs and economic impact with assets like the Van Andel Arena and DeVos Place Convention Center.  

This is our opportunity to make an impact for future generations by funding the Amphitheater, Soccer Stadium and projects yet to come!  

Vote Yes for Visitor Funded Community Assets on August 6!  

Learn more here: https://yesdestinationkent.org/

 

Kent District Library – One Year Millage

Last fall, the Chamber supported, and voters approved, a 15-year renewal at a lower millage rate for the for Kent District Library (KDL).

Unfortunately, the approved ballot language does not give KDL the authority to assess the new millage until December 2025; meaning 2025 does not currently have funding in place. This has created a funding gap for KDL that will be addressed by a one-year non-renewable millage. 

The August ballot question will be at the rate of 1.1 mills, the same as the 15-year renewal that was passed. It is estimated to generate $26.6 million over the year.

  • If residents vote “yes,” KDL will be able to continue operations during 2025.
  • If residents vote “no,” KDL will have to severely limit operations during 2025, likely closing branches, laying off team members and reducing programs and services.

All cities and townships in Kent County except for Grand Rapids, Cedar Springs, Sparta, and Sparta & Solon Townships are in the KDL service area.

Learn more here: https://kdl.org/millage/

 

Ready by Five Early Childhood Millage

The Ready by Five Early Childhood Millage helps thousands of children in Kent County enter kindergarten healthy and ready to learn and succeed. This will renew the current millage of 0.25 mills for an additional 5 years.

  • The millage currently contributes approximately $7.7 million/year for programs that support the health, school readiness, and the well-being of children five and younger
  • Kent County provides many early childhood services and this millage helps to address critical gaps.
  • The Chamber supported the original millage in 2018, which led to Kent County being the first county in Michigan to specifically support early childhood programming with tax dollars.

Why it Matters: Research shows the earliest years of life are the most important for brain development and sets the foundation for future success. Early investment saves money long term and leads to a strong future for our community.

  • As a business community, we recognize how critical it is to have the supports in place for young children to be successful, as they are the workforce of tomorrow.

Learn more here:  https://yesreadyby5.com/vote

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