Resident: 'Why Can't We Vote for Public Safety Millage in November?'
A resident voices his displeasure with the millage votes being held in August, and ask Chief Ed Harris why the millages can't be on the November ballot.
It seems that there are millage requests every time there is an election or a primary and many are stealth elections that are held in May or August when there is very low voter turnout. I am sure there are costs associated with each of these campaigns i.e.: printing literature, campaign signs, etc. Why can't you plan your millage requests to be voted on in November when a more representative voter turnout is expected? Why do you always try to sneak these millages through? The money you save could be used for actual police and fire work rather than campaign propaganda!
If I voted for every millage request put forth this year, my taxes would go up almost $400. I have to live within my budget, I suggest that we all should.
White Lake, MI
Chief Edward Harris: Mr. Perks, thank you for your question.
First, I am fully aware that there are a number of millages that support your police department and it does seem that they are up for renewal quite often. In fact, there are five (5) separate millages that fund your police department. These five millages provide the only source of funding for the police department, there is no funding from the township’s general fund. The reason there are so many millage levies is because of the township growth in the last thirty years. Increased demands for services because of the growth required additional resources. As a result, over the years, additional millage proposals were requested and passed by the voters.
Second, this is a primary election which is a major election. No one is trying to sneak anything past anyone.
Third, the funding that is used for the campaign is minimal. Probably less than $5,000 and it is donated by individuals who recognize the need for all of the public service provided by the township and want their donations to help fund the campaign. No funds from the township, police or fire departments are used or could be used for this purpose. In fact, if you or anyone else is interested you can go to www.citizensforasafewhitelake.com, review the information and those so inclined can send a donation to the committees treasurer.
Finally, the police/fire renewal and the fire renewal are just that, renewals. These are renewals of millages that are already in place and will not result in an increase in your taxes. The additional fire millage request is very minimal, the owner of a $200,000 home with an sev of $100,000 will see an annual tax increase of approximately $50. The police/fire millage that you are being asked to renew is in fact, a part of the current police department budget. Hopefully it will be renewed so that it can be included in the 2013 police department budget. If it isn’t renewed, the police department budget will be reduced by approximately $600,000.00 which will result in serious staff reductions.
Please consider the importance of public safety to you, your neighbors and the rest of the community when you vote on these issues. If you require any additional information I would be happy to speak with you directly. Please feel free to contact me.
Chief of Police