ZEELAND — The city of Zeeland is temporarily lowering its tax rate by one mill starting July 1 and canceling a special assessment that downtown businesses pay to the city to cover the cost of downtown maintenance.


City leaders in Zeeland said the measures are their way of relieving some of the financial pressure on residents caused by the coronavirus pandemic and related stay-at-home orders.


Meeting Monday via phone conference, the Zeeland City Council approved the changes along with the next fiscal year’s budget. Zeeland’s new budget year starts July 1.


Finance director and Assistant City Manager Kevin Plockmeyer explained cutting the millage rate from 11.1354 mills to 10.1354 mills will mean the city loses out on about $446,000 in revenue, but he said the budget can withstand the loss.


"We can handle this," Plockmeyer told the council Monday.


Some planned city projects, such as the Library Alley and Cherry Street improvement projects, will be delayed until next year, and the city will have to give "careful consideration" to any new projects or initiatives over the next months, Plockmeyer said.


Work on possibly expanding Zeeland’s small-scale snowmelt system will have to be slowed.


Most of the city’s other revenue sources are expected to remain relatively stable in the short term, Plockmeyer said, although income from state revenue-sharing payments is expected to be down this year.


Effects to the city’s budget tend to lag behind downturns in the private sector.


Because of that lag, city leadership felt they could do something for residents who are struggling now, he said.


The millage rate and assessment for downtown property owners are expected to be restored next year.


One mill is equivalent to $1 for every $1,000 of taxable value.


For a home with a taxable value of $50,000, Zeeland’s tax cut will trim $50 off the homeowner’s tax bill.


— Contact reporter Carolyn Muyskens at cmuyskens@hollandsentinel.com and follow her on Twitter at @cjmuyskens.