Just the Facts: 4 Millages to Appear on August Ballot
On Thursday, the White Lake Township Board of Trustees approved the ballot language for three millage renewals and one millage increase. The millages will appear on the Aug. 7 primary ballot.
After lengthy discussion about the economy, fund balances and deficits the White Lake Township Board of Trustees approved the ballot language for three millage renewal requests and the language for one millage increase request.
Supervisor Greg Baroni, and several board members, said that their approval of the language doesn't necessarily mean they support the millage requests. They said they felt it was necessary to bring to the public and let the residents of White Lake decide what they want to pay for.
The option of special assessments was not discussed.
All millage requests will appear on the Aug. 7 primary ballot.
Parks and Recreation millage increase
Language has been approved that will ask voters to sustain the current parks and recreation millage through 2016. The language, as submitted to the township board, proposes a .3 mill increase for five years. During the first year, this millage will raise an estimated $280,701. This money can then be used for recreation purposes, including park maintenance, pathway and park construction, (including acquisition of land easements for that purpose) and providing matching funds in connection for grant applications for recreation purposes.
If the language is approved by voters in the election, a homeowner owning a home with a taxable value of $100,000 would pay $30 a year.
Police-Fire operating millage renewal
White Lake voters will be asked to vote either yes or no on the renewal of a 1 mill tax that will last for ten years. The millage, is approved will raise approximately $935,671 in the first year. This money can be used for all police and fire related services, and will be split 65-35, with the police department receiving 65 percent of funds raised; and fire receiving 35 percent.
If the language is approved by voters in the election, a homeowner owning a home with a taxable value of $100,000 would pay $100 a year.
Fire millage renewal
In the second of three public safety millages, voters will be asked to vote yes or no on the renewal of .6740 mills ($0.6740 per $1,000 taxable value) for ten years. In the first year this millage will raise approximately $630,642. The money can be spent to maintain fire and emergency medical services, including personnel, equipment, vehicles, and operational costs.
If the language gets approved by voters in the election, a homeowner owning a home with a taxable value of $100,000 would pay $67.40 a year.
Fire millage increase
In the final public safety millage request, voters will be asked to approve an increase of .05 mills ($0.50 per $1,000 taxable value) for a period of 10 years. This money will be used for the purpose of maintaining current fire and emergency medical services, including personnel, equipment, vehicles, and operational costs. If approved, the township will collect approximately $467,835 in the first year.
If the language gets approved by voters in the election, a homeowner owning a home with a taxable value of $100,000 would pay $50 a year.
This proposal was the most discussed during the meeting. Trustee Carol Burkard voted again the language stating now, with the economy, is not the time to ask voters for more money.
Trustee Todd Birkle was also against the language, stating the fire department has more than $6.5 million in their capital equipment fund that could be used, if needed, to cover and future deficits.
"I think we need to look at how the fire budget is structured and be a little creative to offset the deficits," Birkle said.
The more than $6.5 million is the accumulation of millage money from the 04M millages that was passed in 2004. Fire Chief Tony Maltese said that while the department could dip into that fund, it's a slippery slope.
"That money has been saved to be spent on replacing some very expensive equipment," Maltese said. "We have tankers and rescue vehicles that need to be replaces in the next 5 years, if we start dipping into that money to cover our deficits we could find ourselves in a situation where replacing our equipment is just not possible."
Burkard and Birkle were the only two board member to vote against the language.
Correction: The language of the police-fire operating millage was clarified.