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Cut parks and rec, not police protection



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August 17, 2011 - Dear Editor,

(In response to: 'More taxes or less police?' The Citizen, Aug. 6, page 1)

"More taxes or less police?" As if those are the only two choices! "They're at it again," I scowled in disgust. It seems that every time a municipality gets into budget trouble, which is alarmingly often, they put more effort into finding ways to raise our taxes rather than to eliminate nonessential services.

After reading the article I decided I had enough and I wanted to see if there was some more insight available before I went to the budget workshop on Monday. So I decided to speak to the author of the article. I had the wonderful opportunity to speak to the author and I would like to take this opportunity to give a shout-out to Susan Bromley. I was interested to know where the authority to raise the millage came from, about the impacts of police staffing below the FBI standard and the survey results quoted in the article. Susan was very helpful in providing the understanding I needed.

Well Monday evening arrives and I headed out, with my daughter, to the board meeting. After sitting through about an hour and a half of business unrelated to the workshop, the board moved to the group of tables in front of the council seating. Then I fell down the rabbit hole. The bulk of the discussion seemed to focus on whether they should raise the millage to the full amount or not. What was most frustrating was the time spent by Treasurer Tyrone Beltramo and Supervisor Kathy Thurman going in circles and always coming back to the conclusion that the money is just not there for even a Band-Aid application to the budget. My hat is off to Terry for sticking to his assertions and being the only one who suggested more cuts to non-essential services such as parks and rec. Then someone made the comment about not wanting to cut parks because they are a "parks and rec" person, or something to that effect, and then someone else stated that they do not want to cut any more of the senior center, and so on and so forth. I just cannot fathom how anyone can think that reducing police protection is justifiable in lieu of more cuts to parks and rec, considering it is one of three park systems in Brandon Twp. Don't forget that we have county and state parks as well, primarily being funded by tax dollars. Just a reminder for the board, Merriam-Webster defines non-essential as "not essential." It would seem to be pretty self-explanatory. In my opinion, non-essential in public service is defined as anything not in the best interest of the township as a whole. Police and fire protection would not fall under non-essential! The only thing new that I learned at the board meeting is that my daughter, for a 6-year-old, can behave herself for two-and-a-half hours in a budget meeting. Her Daddy was impressed..

David Albrecht

Ortonville

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