DIA asking for millage renewal in metro Detroit counties during primary election

Posted at 4:21 AM, Mar 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-05 11:22:01-05

DETROIT — During the primary election on March 10, the Detroit Institute of Arts will be asking voters in Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties to approve a millage renewal.

The millage currently sits at .2 mills. It was originally passed in 2012 for ten years. Now, the Detroit Institute of Arts is asking for a ten-year renewal that would kick into effect when the current millage time is up.

For a $150,000 home, the millage would cost $15 a year in taxes. It helps raise around $25 million dollars a year for the DIA.

DIA Director Salavador Salort-Pons said the millage helps pay for programs like free general admission, free school programs, free senior programs and free community partnership programs.

“We have to service the community and go beyond the walls of the museum and that has changed the culture of the museum,” Salort-Pons said.

However, there is some opposition to the renewal.

State Representative Jeff Yaroch of Macomb has introduced a bill in Lansing to allow municipalities to opt out of the tax if it’s approved on March 10.

“Is this really a value to northern Macomb County? I would turn the question back and say why should northern Macomb County pay for an art institute that is not in our county?” said Yaroch. “If this passed, and a community opts out, it does not mean that residents from that community can’t go there and pay the entry fee to get in.”

Salort-Pons said this millage not just services those who live nearby, but the entire region.

“You want to have a great region where people want to come and live and raise their families, to have a great place to live, you have to have organizations like the DIA, we are very fortunate to have a museum like this one,” Salort-Pon said.

Yaroch says this bill is currently in the tax committee, but says at this point, it’s unknown how long it will take to be officially voted on.