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Township to hike police millage



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February 20, 2013 - Atlas Twp.-On Monday night the township board of trustees discussed ballot language for an increase in police millage for a spring election.

With a deadline of Feb. 26 looming for the May 7 ballot—a discrepancy was determined over a taxable value report of the township prepared by assessor Carrie Bock.

As a result, a special meeting was scheduled for Feb. 21, where the board is expected to finalize language asking voters to approve 2.1 mills for four years on the May 7 ballot. The current 1 mill police millage has expired. One mill had generated about $262,000—township officials are considering levying 2.1 mills which will generate about $565,000.

"The information regarding the taxable values was questioned," said Tere Onica, township clerk. "We decided to table the issue until Thursday. The millage will replace the 1 mill and the special assessment. If voters approve this it will be on the winter 2013 tax bill."

Township taxpayers with a $100,000 home will pay about $105 per year if the new millage is approved.

The township established a contract with the Genesee County Sheriff's Department about 13 years ago, funded by 1 mill from area property owners. Since 2007 the cost for police protection has risen from $432,205 to $538,653 in 2012, about a 24 percent increase. The township had also collected a special assessment that was established in 2006 which included $50 for every improved lot and $25 for unimproved lots. Township officials implemented the special assessment to offset the necessary increase in police funding. The special assessment was renewed in 2010 by a 4-1 vote.

A committee was established in 2011 to research ways law enforcement could be funded in the township. Those findings were released on June 18.

The police funding advisory committee had provided three proposals for the board of trustees to consider:

nMaintain current Genesee County Sheriff's coverage for 2012-13. Replace current 1 mill and $50/$25 special assessment with an equivalent millage of 1.6192 mills, plus an Atlas Township general fund supplement for the balance.

nMaintain current Genesee County Sheriff's coverage for 2012-13 based on a capped cost of $538,653. Any excess costs must be reduced by corresponding cuts in manpower, hours or other costs which are acceptable to both parties. Michigan State Police to provide coverage for hours not covered by the sheriff's department.

nMaintain current Genesee County Sheriff's coverage for the 2012-13 year and replace the current 1 mill along with the $50/$25 special assessment and township general fund supplement with a millage not to exceed 2.1 mills. The existing millage and $50/$25 special assessment is the equivalent of 1.6192 mills for a maximum increase of .4808.

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