October 31, 2012 - This newspaper has never taken the issue of taxes lightly, especially when it comes to increasing them.
We firmly believe that folks should get to keep the money they earn and spend it how they see fit without the fear of government confiscating more and more of it to finance projects and ideas conceived behind closed doors in administrators' offices and during committee meetings with no audiences.
But sometimes, unfortunately, tax increases are a necessary evil in order to continue providing the basic necessities that go along with living in a community such as police protection, firefighting and emergency medical services.
Voters in Oxford and Addison townships are faced with two such tax increases on the Nov. 6 ballot and we urge them to vote YES in both cases.
Oxford Township is requesting a two-year, 1-mill increase for police protection currently provided by the Oakland County Sheriff's Department.
If voters say yes, the township will be able to increase its staffing level by two officers and keep its police budget stable in the coming years. Actually, increase is the wrong word to use here with regard to staffing because the township was forced to cut two sheriff's officers over the last two years. So, in reality, this tax hike is simply an attempt to bring police staffing back to its previous level. That's really not an unreasonable request.
On the flip-side, if voters say no, the township will be forced to cut two more deputies, which is completely unacceptable. That would leave the municipality with 11 officers to protect and serve a population of 17,090 – not including the village – 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That's not enough manpower to keep this community safe by investigating crimes, patrolling neighborhoods and responding to thousands of calls for service.
The sheriff's department has done a fantastic job of policing the township since 2000 and the township has done an excellent job of managing the tax dollars it collects, so we see no reason not to honor this request.
If this extra mill wasn't really and truly needed, then the township wouldn't be asking for it. The township board is very conservative when it comes to things like this.
If this tax increase wasn't really and truly needed, we wouldn't be encouraging township residents to vote YES. We're pretty conservative about these things, too.
Over in Addison, voters are being asked to approve a five-year, 0.75-mill request to help finance the operation of its fire department. This request is both a renewal of an existing tax and an increase amounting to 0.0027 mill.
This request is a no-brainer. Addison been extremely frugal with tax money over the years and we see no reason not give it what it needs to keep the community safe.
Addison isn't asking for much. On a home with a taxable value of $100,000, a 0.0027-mill increase amounts to an additional 27 cents annually – and no, that's not a misprint. How could anyone possibly say no to an extra 27 cents a year for a department that does so much to protect the lives and property of Addison residents?
We know there's a strong anti-tax sentiment in Addison (that's why we like it over there), but we also know that Addison residents are reasonable folks with a surplus of common sense and a strong loyalty to their fire department.
We trust they will agree with our endorsement of a YES vote on their fire millage renewal/increase.
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.