Fire, police millages key issues in election

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By Ryan Kryska
The Holt Journal

Delhi Township Clerk Evan Hope said the current fire and police tax rates of 1.5 mills, which expire at the end of 2014, were voted for in 2010 to counter the drop in state aid due to the recession of Michigan’s economy from 2007 to 2009.

The owner of a $100,000 home is taxed $75 annually for each department, a total of $150 a year for public safety. This rate would remain the same if the issues are approved.

Hope said the millage has been extremely helpful to the departments. The rates have generated $1 million toward both of the departments’ operating costs.

If the proposals are voted down, the departments would each lose $1 million. The lost revenue would be just under half of the planned 2015 budgets of $2.16 million for fire, and $2.49 million for police.

“Delhi Township would have to make major cuts to the fire and police departments. The millage revenue is not a luxury, it is a necessity,” said Hope. “The major problem with losing out on the millage would be potential cuts to our paramedics and having to look into using more paid-on-call firefighters.”

“The operating millage introduced in 2010 has worked extremely well for us,” said Delhi Township Fire Chief Brian Ball. “Cutting the department’s millage revenue would be devastating. Delhi Township would be losing safety for its community if that happened.”

The Delhi Police Division is operated through the Ingham County Police Department.

Hope said the good thing about the current police operations is that the county can provide valued reinforcements in high-profile situations.

“A township study years ago showed that Delhi could not provide the same police coverage that Ingham County provides for us,” said Hope.

Delhi Police Division Lt. Vernon Elliott said the township has already signed its 2015 police contract with Ingham County. Elliot said the loss of taxpayers’ millage revenue could affect the township’s ability to strategically pay for the contract.

“The millage revenue directly affects the township more than us,” said Elliott. “We want to see the millage pass … without it the contract could be scaled back or canceled.”

Hope said Delhi Township’s millage rates are not uncommon compared to other communities, and that the township provides both fire and police for lower cost per capita than any other community in the Lansing area.

Election polls open on Tuesday, Nov. 4, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Voters can visit the Michigan Voter Information Center to find their polling location.

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