MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - The Police and Fire Protection Millage appearing on the August 8th ballot, has become a controversial topic in the Township.
Voters will be asked to pass a millage, that according to Township officials, would help eliminate the debt associated with pension funds, secure new police and fire equipment as well as hire additional police and fire employees.
The proposal, approved by the Township Board on March 21, would add 1.483 mills to the annual tax collection if approved by voters. For a house that's worth $200,000, that adds $148.32 to the tax collection for the year and an added $2.5 million in annual revenue for the Township.
Citizens continue to raise concerns about whether or not the proposal will pass.
"I don't think most people realize when you increase a millage you're also increasing the property taxes. When property taxes go up, everything goes up," said Bruce Little, Meridian Township resident.
Costs seems to be the driving factor for citizens who are against the millage.
"There are 1,400 townships in the state of Michigan. Of those 1,400 townships, Meridian Township has the 3rd highest millage rate in the state. You can verify that by going on the state of Michigan Treasurer's website and you can see it plain as day," Little continued.
And he says citizens already pay enough in taxes. "I know if you live in Meridian Township you pay 2.7 percent of the value of your property every year in property taxes. It's more than most pay on their mortgage interest. Its more than I pay on my mortgage that's for darn sure."
But some citizens say they value these services too much to not to support the millage.
"I spent Christmas in ICU. I woke up in the middle of the night, I was soaked in blood, the bed was soaked in blood. My mattress was ruined and I called for help immediately," said Quenda Story, Meridian Township resident. "I was lucky, I survived because I got there right away. When they were taking me in the ambulance I was in danger of death. I was lucky they weren't busy taking care of an emergency elsewhere."
Story said she fears for what will happen if the millage doesn't pass.
"In 2006 we had 45 officers now we have 37 and now we have more calls for their services. I'm a widow. I live alone, I feel pretty confident and able to take care of myself but if there was something alarming or frightening happening I want to call the police and I want them to come right away."
Some people are willing to pay the extra costs for the millage. "These are services that we need. If we need it and want it, we're going to have to pay for it," Story said.
The fate of the 2017 Police and Protection Millage will soon be in the hands of voters on August 8th. The deadline to register to vote in this election is July 10th.
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