Oakland Community College chief pushes millage renewal

Kim Kozlowski
The Detroit News

Oakland Community College is asking voters in November for a 10-year renewal of a millage that provides 27% of the school's operating budget.

The 0.75-mill tax raises $45 million annually toward OCC's $160 million operating budget, and is critical for the college that has granted more than 90,000 degrees and certificates and offers programs in a robotics, health care, emergency service and advanced manufacturing. OCC officials say 1 in 41 jobs in the county is supported by the college and students.

Peter Provenzano Jr., chancellor of Oakland Community College

"It allows us to continue all of the wonderful programs that we have in place," OCC Chancellor Peter Provenzano Jr.said Wednesday. "It does not increase the tax rate."

Provenzano visited The Detroit News Editorial Board to talk about the millage, which he said has helped keep the tuition for students living in the district to $94 a credit hour. 

"Because we have been good stewards of taxpayer money, it has allowed us to keep that in-district tuition rate so low, the lowest in the state," said Provenzano.

For the owner of a home with a $200,000 market value, or $100,000 in taxable value, the millage would cost $76 annually.

The OCC milllage has been in existence since the 1990s, and renewed every 10 years since.

The current millage expires at the end of 2021, but the college is approaching Oakland County voters early.

"We are doing this a little early because we are a planning organization," said Provenzano. 'We have a five-year budget in capital plan and if the millage doesn't pass, we want to have time to plan and adjust accordingly."