Proposed millage for John Ball Zoo, GR museum goes to voters, WOOD

A proposed tax increase to fund John Ball Zoo and the Grand Rapids Public Museum is on its way to the voters to decide.

Kent County commissioners voted Thursday to place the millage proposal on the Nov. 6 ballot.

The 10-year, .44 millage would cost the average homeowner in Kent County about $3 more per month, supporters say. The funding would go toward updating exhibits and facilities at both venues.

Museum and zoo officials said in January the millage would also unlock perks for Kent County residents, including free museum parking, free museum admission for Kent County children and free group admissions to the zoo for all elementary school children.

Some commissioners opposed the millage, saying some residents can’t afford higher taxes. However, there was enough support to bring the issue to a public vote.

“I believe there are many people out there who want to invest in the quality of life in Grand Rapids and that’s why I support it,” said commissioner Harold Voorhees.

Commissioners also approved plans to buy 27.4 acres of adjacent land to expand Millennium Park.

A grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources would cover up to 60 percent of the property’s estimated $460,000 price tag.

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Proposed millage for Johan Ball Zoo, GR museum goes to voters WOODTV, May 12, 2016