Orion Township Board to Ask Voters for More Public Safety Funding
On the Aug. 7 ballot: A police millage issue that combines a renewal and an increase as well as a renewal of the fire department millage to maintain staffing levels so 'we can handle whatever is thrown at us.'
The Orion Township Board of Trustees voted 4-3 Monday night to ask voters to approve a police millage of 3 mills on the Aug. 7 ballot.
Lt. Dan Toth of the Orion Township Substation gave a thorough presentation at Monday’s meeting at Township Hall, illustrating the need to not just renew the nearly 2 mills for public safety services this year, but to increase it. According to Toth, if the millage is simply renewed the substation will have to cut staffing by about six deputies because of how the economy has impacted the actual taxable values of properties.
“If we don’t have an increase in the millage we can’t fund it out of general funds, the money just won’t be there. And that’s why I’m inclined to make a motion that we approve the recommendation of a total of 3 mills with a renewal of 1.9832 with an additional 1.0168 for a total of 3 mills as one proposal on the ballot in August,” Clerk Penny Shults said.
Currently, Toth noted, the substation is operating with 25 deputies, which is five deputies short of what it had three years ago.
“We are definitely very lean and conservative in Orion, but I want to make sure we are safe and that we can handle whatever is thrown at us,” Toth said of the substation’s staffing level.
Ideally, he would like to garner enough funds from the millage plan to hire an extra deputy in January 2013 and one more in 2015.
“I realize the economic conditions for everyone. For my family, your family, everyone’s family. But I just want to emphasize that public safety, police services, they are essential services,” Toth said. “And when we look at this for the next four years, it’s very critical.”
Trustee John Steimel commended the substation’s response time and said he hopes that can continue. “To me fire and police protection is one of the core values I think this board should be responsible for … it’s a function we have to maintain,” Steimel said.
Board members debated adding a second millage option on the ballot, as opposed to giving residents only the option to vote in favor of or oppose the requested 3 mills, but didn’t want to risk not having either option pass.
The millage ballot language is scheduled to be presented at the May 7 board meeting after the township’s attorney has drafted it and is to be voted on at that time.
Other meeting highlights:
- The Orion Township Fire Department millage language was approved unanimously for the Aug. 7 primary election. The fire department will seek a renewal of the current millage rate of .9916 mills to cover funds for four years.
- A bid totaling $5,075 was awarded to True Green for lawn fertilization services.
- A bid totaling $276,637 to Superior Excavating was approved for a Maybee Road sewer repair.
- The board approved a bid of just more than $148,000 for asphalt paving to Total Asphalt Paving Inc. for an M-24 safety path project that connects paths from the southwest corner of Clarkston Road, on the west side of M-24, to Scripps Road.
- Supervisor JoAnn Van Tassel proclaimed this week to be Severe Weather Awareness Week, and warned residents there will be a siren test at 1 p.m. Wednesday.
- The American Legion Auxiliary Poppy Program was granted permission to sell poppies to benefit veterans May 3-5 near the Orion Veterans Memorial in Lake Orion.