2018-08-09 / News

Twp. to forgo millage request

BY LANIA ROCHA
810-452-2652 • lrocha@mihomepaper.com

GAINES TOWNSHIP – The Gaines Township Board of Trustees will not ask voters for additional police funding this year.

During public comment at the Aug. 1 township board meeting, Clerk Michael Dowler commented that the police millage question will not appear on the November ballot.

The last township board meeting in which details of a possible millage were discussed occurred in May when board members opted not to put the proposal on the August primary ballot.

Township Supervisor Paul Fortino said indecision and concerns about other millage requests kept the board from taking action.

“We really didn’t talk about it,” Fortino said. “I don’t think the board, as a whole, has settled on what proposal to go for (a millage or a flat fee levied against all improved parcels). We just don’t know what to do for sure, what’s the best approach.”

Township officials have not discussed the issue outside of public forums, Fortino said.

“Someone may say something to someone else, but we’ve had no real discussion on it,” he said. “We’ll have to decide next year that’s for sure, before winter taxes. No one was pushing for it to be on (the November ballot). We just didn’t do it. There’s no consensus on the board for what to do. We don’t want to do the wrong thing, either. So, we just put it off.”

Fortino added “there’s a lot of clutter” on the November ballot, includ- ing a couple of controversial millage questions.

Among proposals voters will face in the general election are a 4.9- mil request from the Swartz Creek Community Schools.

Township Trustee Matt Moros said he would have liked the board to have more discussions by now.

“It never got on the agenda,” Moros said. “I’m disappointed. But there has been no talk of it whatsoever other than at the public meetings, which has been little to none. I wanted some sort of decision before November.”

The deadline to file ballot language for the November election is Aug. 16. The township board does not have another regularly-scheduled meeting until September.

The township levies 0.49 mils for police services. The millage, which will appear on the winter tax bills, expires at the end of this year. It will generate about $84,000 in fiscal year 2018-19. The rest of the department’s $186,000 budget comes from the general fund.

The police department is made up of a full-time chief and four part-time employees including two patrol officers, a detective and a secretary. The agency provides about 560 man-hours of police coverage monthly.

Township officials have said a fulltime police department with roundthe clock coverage would cost about $327,000, which would require at least 2 mils or a flat fee of $124 per parcel per year. There are about 2,626 homes and businesses in the township.

Records indicate the average taxable value, roughly half the true cash value, in Gaines Township is $60,833. The owner of a property worth about $121,666 would pay about $60.83 annually per mil.

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