West Bloomfield Township residents approved a renewal and an increase of the township’s public safety millage by authorizing two separate ballot questions during the township’s Tuesday, Nov. 8 election.
Township voters approved a 10-year renewal of the township’s existing public safety millage at its current rate of 3.1378 mills, with 7,589 votes in favor (80.61 percent) and 1,825 votes against it (19.39 percent).
Voters also approved an 11-year increase in the public safety millage of 2.85 mills, with 5,049 votes cast in favor (54.09 percent) and 4,285 votes cast against it.
A mill is equal to $1 for every $1,000 of a property’s taxable value. The owner of a township property with a taxable value of $100,000 ($200,000 market value) will continue to pay $313.78 a year in property taxes for public safety services with the renewal of the existing millage, as well as pay an additional $285 a year with the increase.
“It’s an honor to receive that support from the community,” said West Bloomfield Fire Chief Jay Wiseman. “It reaffirms a new trust in us and we’ll continue to do our best to provide the best services possible to our citizens.”
West Bloomfield Police Chief Michael Patton said the police department was very happy and appreciative for the public’s support given the current economic environment.
“I think the results show the public’s confidence in the police and fire department and that we are good stewards with their money,” Patton said. “Our biggest failure would be if we let them down going forward.”
Township Clerk Cathy Shaughnessy said that as a resident, she was grateful and pleased that township public safety services will remain at their current levels.
Township Trustee Steven Kaplan said the township board is elated that the public overwhelmingly supported the millage proposals.
“As a result of the election, West Bloomfield residents and businesses can continue to experience quick response times and fully-staffed public safety departments,” he said.
Trustee Howard Rosenberg added that he was pleased and gratified with the voters’ decision, while Trustee Larry Brown thanked volunteers for their help in promoting the ballot proposals.
“Without the passage of both of these proposals, we would have had to implement crippling cuts in our public safety services,” Brown said. “I’m relieved that we don’t have to make those cuts.”
Wiseman and Patton have said that the public safety personnel unions made concessions as far back as 2009 and 2010, even though they weren’t contractually obligated to do so.
“Our public safety employees made significant concessions in wages and benefits in their collective bargaining agreements,” said Trustee Gene Farber. “Without making those concessions, I doubt the voters would have endorsed these proposals.”