Plymouth Township seeking public safety millage OK
“Clinton told the board of trustees that this millage is the bare minimum amount necessary to keep the township “going in the right direction.”
Nov. 1, 2018 PLYMOUTH EAGLE.
Plymouth Michigan News
Plymouth Township voters will decide whether to fund the replacement of a nearly 30-year-old fire truck and bring police department staffing up to the levels recommended as adequate by the International Association of Chiefs of Police with a millage question on the Nov. 6 ballot.
The millage question, asking for 1.2 mills for 16 years will be on the Plymouth Township Nov. 6 ballot. The millage, if approved will generate $2.1 million for the first year, allowing the township to replace antiquated equipment, maintain the facilities, pay retirement obligations and increase staffing to adequate levels.
If approved, homeowners would see a tax increase of $1.20 for every $1,000 of taxable value, which is usually half of the market value of the property. As an example, the owner of a $300,000 home would see an annual increase of about $180.
According to township officials, there are only 21 firefighters serving the community, three fewer than the minimum recommended staffing. A federal grant will allow the hiring of three firefighters, although Fire Chief Dan Phillips noted that he has lost three firefighters recently to communities that offer better pay and benefits.
Phillips added that of the three front-line vehicles, one fire truck is almost 30-years-old and the other is nearly 27-years old and the equipment needs upgrading to provide basic service to the community. Parts for the vehicles are no longer made, Phillips said.
The township does not have a tower truck which allows firefighters to reach the upper floors of buildings. A state grant is helping the township purchase a needed pumper truck, but the other truck and a 13-year-old ambulance needs to be replaced.
Police Chief Tom Tiderington agreed with Phillips about recruiting officers. His police force currently consists of only 29 officers, 20-30 fewer than the recommended staffing of 50-60 recommended by public safety experts for the township population. He said he was aware of two officers currently seeking work with other departments that offer more attractive pay and benefits.
Tiderington said his department must constantly repair and replace vehicles and the life of a squad car is only two to three years as they are in constant service and on the road.
Treasurer Mark Clinton suggested the millage explaining that during the recession, property tax revenue in the township fell by about 20 percent.
Clinton told the board of trustees that this millage is the bare minimum amount necessary to keep the township “going in the right direction.”