Bay College seeks millage renewal

ESCANABA – The Bay de Noc Community College Board of Trustees has approved a proposal for a millage renewal for capital improvements and debts service for the next 20 years (2015 to 2034).

This renewal does not result in an increase in taxes; rather, it is a continuation of the existing millage that was last approved 20 years prior. Delta County has an opportunity to vote for this upcoming millage renewal on Nov. 5.

The renewed millage proposes the charter rate limitation of 1 mill ($1 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation) is to be used only for capital improvements and for paying the principal and interest on outstanding bonded indebtedness of the community college district from building and expansion. This equates to $100 per year for taxpayers on a $100,000 property, and again no increase to existing rates. According to President Dr. Laura Coleman and the Bay College Board of Trustees, this millage is essential to maintain, update and advance the program offerings and facilities at Bay College.

Since 1962, this millage has helped Bay College serve the community in a variety of ways. Bay officials said. One such way is through the college’s positive economic impact. Over the past 50 years, Bay has served nearly 150,000 students, and has awarded 13,049 associate degrees and also 10,178 certificates. Most Bay students and graduates continue to live and work in the central U.P. of Michigan, contributing to the economic strength of the area, according to college officials.

In its latest study, the college estimates it annually brings $85 million of additional income into the central U.P. economy as a result of educating the community, and the payback over a graduate’s working career is four times for every dollar invested in their education. The college has increased enrollment from 133 students in its first year to a peak of 2,850 in fall 2010 (an over 20 fold growth in 50 years).

“Bay College also promotes a positive community labor force and improved earning potential by providing lifelong learning courses, as well as opportunities for workforce development, customized training, and certification programs through the Michigan Educational Training Center (M-TEC). Bay has also teamed up with local high schools, Bay Middle College, Bridges, Summer Gear Up, Michigan Works!, College Access Coalition programs, and more, serving as a foundation for strong educational and vocational partnerships in our community,” college officials stated in a press release.

Cultural opportunities are also at the forefront of Bay’s impact on the community, Bay officials said. Both students and community members are invited to attend a variety of performances, events, and exhibits presented by the college throughout the year. The Hartwig Art Gallery and Besse Center, among others, provide inspiring public spaces for attendees to enjoy the creative gifts of both our community members and visiting artists. Additionally, Bay College is committed to improving the health and lifestyle of the community, offering technology centers; recreational opportunities including soccer fields, walking trails, and a labyrinth; and the home of the Northern Lights YMCA of Delta County.

Bay College’s millage proposal was last approved by a vote of 4,056 to 1,903. Since 1997, the college has met a number of milestones, including opening the Heirman University Center, M-TEC, Bay West, and Besse Center buildings; receiving Achieving the Dream and Title III grants, which emphasize improving student success; offering a variety of options in online education; and getting selected as an ‘Achieving the Dream Leader College” in 2012, a distinction given to only 13 other colleges in the nation that year. Bay College faculty and staff look forward to meeting more milestones and continuing their roles as leading innovators in both higher education and the community during the next 20 years. For more information about the millage, visit or contact Bay College’s Advancement Office at (906) 217-1700.