Voters approve millage renewals

Proposals pass for school, library, transportation authority, township emergency services, and city sidewalk snow removal during August 4 primary election
Voters in Crawford County decided several local millage renewals – all of them passed – and a variety of local government positions during Michigan’s primary election on Tuesday, August 4.
One county position – Clerk/Register of Deeds – featured a contested race between two Republicans. Incumbent Sandra Moore won vs. challenger Mary Stewart-Green, with Moore receiving 1,939 votes and Stewart-Green receiving 1,027 votes.
In other county-wide races, Prosecutor Sierra R. Koch, Sheriff Shawn M. Kraycs, and Treasurer Kate Wagner – all on the August 4 ballot as Republicans – were running unopposed. Koch received 2,500 votes. Kraycs received 2,685 votes. Wagner received 2,551 votes. 
Republicans Cris Jones and Ronald Larson – running for two seats on the Crawford County Road Commission Board – received 1,593 and 1,930 votes, respectively.
There were no contested races for Crawford County Commissioner on August 4. Laurie Jamison (R, 1st District) received 182 votes. Sharon Priebe (R, 2nd District) received 455 votes. Shelley L. Pinkelman (R, 3rd District) received 401 votes. Jamie McClain (R, 4th District) received 458 votes. Sherry Powers (R, 6th District) received 324 votes. Phil Lewis (R, 7th District) received 315 votes. There was no candidate listed for the 5th District.
The August 4 primary election featured several local millage renewal proposals. Three of the renewals – millages for the Crawford County Library, the Crawford AuSable School District, and the Crawford County Transportation Authority – were county-wide proposals, and voters approved all of them.
The Crawford County Library was seeking an eight-year millage renewal (“2020 through 2027”) – “0.4458 ($.4458 per $1,000.00 of taxable value)” – for “providing funds for all library purposes,” according to the ballot. The proposal passed with 2,337 yes votes and 1,465 no votes. “The amount of revenue the County will collect if the millage is approved and levied by the County in the first year is estimated to be $259,425,” according to the ballot.
Library officials said they were grateful for the community’s support.
“Your patience through the pandemic and construction means a lot to us. We look forward to unveiling an updated space and continuing to provide the best services possible. We couldn’t do it without your support,” library officials said.
The Crawford County Transportation Authority millage renewal – “0.7027 ($0.7027 per $1,000.00 of taxable value) for a period of five years, 2021 through 2025 inclusive” – passed with 2,573 yes votes and 1,240 no votes. The millage renewal is “for the purpose of paying costs of operating the Crawford County Transportation Authority (known as Dial-A-Ride),” according to the ballot language, and it will generate an “estimated” amount of $408,924 in its first year.
“We appreciate the citizens of Crawford County for passing our millage renewal. We are thankful that so many people understand the importance and the need for public transportation in our community,” said Julee Dean, Executive Director of the Crawford County Transportation Authority.
The Crawford AuSable School District’s renewal millage proposal on the August 4 election ballot sought to “levy the statutory rate of not to exceed 18 mills on all property, except principal residence and other property exempted by law, required for the school district to receive its revenue per pupil foundation allowance,” according to the ballot. 
The school district’s millage proposal passed with 2,336 yes votes and 983 no votes. “The estimate of the revenue the school district will collect if the millage is approved and 18 mills are levied in 2021 is approximately $6,373,889,” according to the ballot.
“We are grateful for the continued support of our community,” said Justin Gluesing, Crawford AuSable School District Superintendent.
City of Grayling voters approved a four-year millage renewal to cover the “costs related to snow removal from all sidewalks within the city,” according to the ballot language. The final numbers were 248 yes to 72 no. “This tax is estimated to raise $64,137.37 in the first year,” according to the ballot.
In Beaver Creek Township, there were three contested races for governmental positions.
Republicans Kim VanNuck and Dan Bonamie were running for Beaver Creek Township Supervisor. Bonamie won with 247 votes. VanNuck received 211 votes.
Republicans Sandy R. Beaudet and Melissa Lobsinger were running for Beaver Creek Township Clerk. Beaudet won with 272 votes. Lobsinger received 165 votes.
Five candidates were running for two Beaver Creek Township Trustee seats. The two winners were Lee Riley (227 votes) and Douglas Yanniello (182 votes). Deb Helsel received 151 votes, Kathleen Baker received 131 votes, and James R. Miller received 120 votes. (Miller passed away in July of 2020.)
Republican Max Meisner ran unopposed for Beaver Creek Township Treasurer and received 368 votes.
Beaver Creek did not have any township millage proposals on the August 4 election ballot.
Sharon Hartman, Beaver Creek Clerk, said the election went well for the township.
“Beaver Creek Township had a great day of voting with about 44 percent of our registered voters voting and about half using absentee ballot voting procedures,” Hartman said.
Hartman said one member of the election team made and provided the group with “matching masks,” which the workers were relieved to remove at the end of the day “after 15 hours.”
“I am a very lucky clerk as I have a great election board to work with, that first of all, have a great sense of humor, and are very knowledgeable. Some have worked on the board for many years and can do many different tasks,” Hartman said. “On Monday, we spent a lot more time setting things up using the six-foot rule, using two doors for entrance/exiting, preparing for wearing masks, etc. We wiped every surface touched by voters constantly and feel that we did an awesome job providing a safe place to vote. Oh, and we ate very well that day, all furnished by the Moose Lodge, which was awesome.” 
Hartman is retiring from the clerk position this year and did not seek re-election.
“I will be through after the November election and hope the new clerk will have as great an experience and love the elections as much as I have,” Hartman said.
The August 4 election featured three contested races for Frederic Township government.
In the race for Frederic Township Supervisor, Brandon Gabriel and William T. Johnson were on the ballot as Republicans. Gabriel won with 177 votes and Johnson had 164 votes.
In the race for Frederic Township Clerk, Republican Amanda Siwecki received 167 votes. Republican Nancy L. Bindschatel, who passed away in June of 2020, received 143 votes. 
Two Republicans were on the ballot for the Frederic Township Treasurer position. Karen M. Dawson won with 224 votes; Michael O’Dell had 110 votes.
For Frederic Township Trustee, Debra Friedman and Randy Richardson were unopposed on the Republican portion of the ballot; they received 142 votes and 241 votes, respectively. Donald Weaver, unopposed on the Democrat portion of the ballot for Frederic Township Trustee, received 67 votes. The three trustee candidates advance to the November general election.
Frederic Township voters approved two millage renewals for emergency services during the August 4 election.
The Proposal To Renew Fire Millage – two mills, four years – passed with 280 yes votes and 157 no votes.
“If approved and levied in its entirety, this millage would raise an estimated $115,811 for the Township in 2020,” according to the ballot.
The Proposal To Renew Ambulance Millage – one mill for four years – passed with 287 yes votes and 149 no votes.
“If approved and levied in its entirety, this millage would raise an estimated $57,905 for the Township in 2020,” according to the ballot.
There were two contested races in Grayling Charter Township.
Republicans Diane Giska and Karen R. Martella were running for Grayling Charter Township Clerk. Giska won with 799 votes. Martella received 453 votes.
Five Republican candidates were running for four Grayling Charter Township Trustee seats. The top four were: Shannon Sorenson, 906 votes; Joseph Smock, 824 votes; JoAnn Michal, 624 votes; Claudia Selthoffer, 606 votes. Brandi M. Ginnever received 518 votes.
Lacey D. Stephan III was unopposed on the Grayling Charter Township Republican ballot for the supervisor position. Cindy Olson was unopposed on the Grayling Charter Township Republican ballot for the treasurer position. Albert Mike Ingalls was unopposed on the Grayling Charter Township Republican ballot for the constable position. Stephan received 1,060 votes, Olson received 1,051 votes, and Ingalls received 955 votes.
There were no Democrat candidates on the August 4 ballot for Grayling Charter Township supervisor, clerk, treasurer, trustee, or constable.
Grayling Charter Township did not have any township millage proposals on the August 4 election ballot.
“The election went well for us,” said Giska, the current Deputy Clerk for Grayling Charter Township. “The biggest adjustment was the preparation involved with the COVID-19 protocols such as making sneeze guards and sanitizing equipment between voters.”
“We did have lines on and off throughout the day but they moved along at a steady pace. The challenge for the inspectors was checking in and processing the large amount of absentee ballots while still issuing ballots to in-person voters. We had 996 absentee ballots and 788 in-person voters,” Giska said. “We have a great team of election inspectors; they did an awesome job.”
In Lovells Township, for the supervisor position, Democrat Randy Long (50 votes) and Republican Gary Neumann (149 votes) were unopposed for their respective parties on the August primary election ballot and they advance to the November general election.
Republican Cynthia L. Infante-Inman was running unopposed for the Lovells Township Clerk position; she received 146 votes.
Republican Ann Carole Duby was running unopposed for the Lovells Township Treasurer position; she received 146 votes.
Republicans Cheryl L. Hopp and Heather G. Lovell were unopposed for two Lovells Township Trustee seats. Hopp received 112 votes and Lovell received 127 votes.
Lovells did not have any township millage proposals on the August 4 election ballot.
Infante-Inman, incumbent clerk for Lovells, said Tuesday’s election “went well.”
“We had more than our usual number of absentee ballots, but we were surprised by the number of walk-in voters. We had a nearly 50 percent turnout. All went well. We were prepared with PPE supplies and our residents felt comfortable with the precautions we took,” Infante-Inman said.
Maple Forest Township voters approved a four-year millage renewal to continue paying for emergency services through Frederic Township with a vote of 137 yes to 55 no. 
“Frederic Township charges 2.00 Mills for Emergency Services (fire and ambulance). Maple Forest will collect 1 mill for emergency services with the remaining 1 mill or/balance to be paid from the Township Improvement Fund,” according to the ballot. “The amount of revenue the township will collect if that millage is approved and levied by the township in the first calendar year is estimated to be $25,335.60.”
Republicans Thomas L. Coors, Sandra L. Baynham, and Denise M. Babbitt were running unopposed for the Maple Forest Township positions of supervisor, clerk, and treasurer, respectively. Coors received 130 votes, Baynham received 134 votes, and Babbitt received 130 votes.
Republican Gayle L. Desprez (126 votes) and Democrat Kristine K. Madill (20 votes) advance to the November general election with regard to two Maple Forest Township Trustee seats.
Baynham, the incumbent Maple Forest Clerk, said the township “experienced above average absentee ballot requests” but the overall process went well.
“In Maple Forest, the election went very smooth. Every possible protection for both precinct worker and voter was taken. Voters were cooperative and the overall atmosphere was positive,” Baynham said.
South Branch Township had one contested race.
For the South Branch Township Supervisor position, two Republicans competed for the office. Laurie Luck won with 250 votes. Greg Stansbury had 104 votes.
Democrat Brenda Nelson, running unopposed for the South Branch Township Clerk position, received 127 votes.
Republican Cathy Lewis received 318 votes running unopposed for South Branch Township Treasurer.
Michael J. Janisse and Anna Sylvester were unopposed for two South Branch Township Trustee seats on the Republican portion of the August 4 ballot. Janisse received 273 votes and Sylvester received 221 votes.
South Branch did not have any township millage proposals on the August 4 election ballot.
Voter turnout ranged from 24 percent in the City of Grayling to 49 percent in Lovells Township during Tuesday’s primary election, according to the final numbers. Beaver Creek had 45 percent turnout, Frederic Township had 37 percent, South Branch had 37 percent, and Maple Forest had 36 percent. Grayling Charter Township – all four of its precincts included – had 38 percent turnout.
The November general election is slated for Tuesday, November 3.
Write-in candidates have until 4 p.m. on October 23 to “file Declaration of Intent forms for the November general election,” according to www.michigan.gov.
Local voting numbers for this article were provided by the Crawford County Building’s website at www.crawfordco.org.

Crawford County Avalanche

Mailing Address
Box 490
Grayling, MI 49738

Phone: 989-348-6811
FAX: 989-348-6806
E-Mail: information@crawfordcountyavalanche.com

Comment Here