Northville Township to seek public safety millage
Mar. 7, 2014 PLYMOUTH EAGLE.
“If the millage is approved, a homeowner with a $400,000 home would see an increase of $310 annually…”
Northville Township voters will be asked to approve 1,550 mill tax hike in November.
Northville Township trustees approved the ballot question last week, citing an anticipated $2.1 shortfall in the township budget next year.
The proposal calls for an additional dedicated millage of 1,550 mills for the next 7 years of which 1.250 mills would be designated for public safety and 0.300 mills for parks-recreation and senior adult services. If the millage is approved, a homeowner with a $400,000 home would see an increase of $310 annually, according to Township Financial Manager Marina Neumaier. She explained that the new millage total of 7.1250 mills would replace the existing voted millage of 5.5750 mills which expired in 2013 and would raise approximately $13,071,000 the first year.
Neumaier said the anticipated budget shortfall was caused as the taxable value of homes in the township dropped 13.8 percent between 2007 and 2013 which resulted in a reduction of property revenue of $300,000 per mill. That was a $1.5 million loss in revenue for the public safety fund. The actual 2014 tax- able value for the township will be available after Board of Review is completed the end of March.
Township police and fire projected budget expenditures are $1.2 million in excess of anticipated revenue for 2014.
Northville Township Manager Chip Snider said the ballot initiative will be in November 2014 and that the ballot language will be published by May 28.
Snider said the board reviewed the budget forecast in 2010 to continue to provide public service at the same level and agreed to use monies in reserve and adjust the millage amounts without asking voters for a tax increase.
“In 2010 voters approved a renewal…we didn’t want to burden the taxpayers in a recession.”
Snider and Township Supervisor Robert Nix said the 1.2550 tax increase, if approved, will be dedicated and can only be used for public safety.
Public Safety Director John Werth said, “We’ve done everything we could do” referring to cost savings within the police and fire departments and changes he implemented to maintain the same level of service without layoffs. If the millage is not approved, Werth said he would have to “reevaluate the service (levels).”
Werth said furlough days in the department have been implemented to help cut costs, mileage has been extended on vehicles before replacement, outsourcing of professional training has been minimized and the township has cooperated in buying apparatus with other communities to cut costs.
“Our volumes are up, our population is up, our runs are up, and our costs are up.” Werth said. Township records indicate that in 2007, the department had 15, 815 runs while in 2013, that total had increased to 16,190. Werth said that the department has been down by as many as seven officers at some times during the past three years. He said that on an aver- age, each officer will handle about 550 complaints.
Northville Township fire and police services are staffed with full-time paid professional police officers and firefighters certified by the state.
Township officials said their goal is to maintain the current high public safety service Northville residents expect.
“We just want to maintain status quo” Snider said, referring to the current service and staffing levels.
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