Law Enforcement Fret Over Upcoming Millages 4-18-2011 - WNEM TV 5

Law Enforcement Fret Over Upcoming Millages 4-18-2011

Communities across Mid-Michigan are asking taxpayers for more money to keep budgets in check. But for voters in one area, the requests are really piling up.
They’re being asked to approve not one, not two -- but three millages this May all for public safety.
“You have to be cautious, you don't know if they're going to come out with a gun start shooting at you or whatever,” said Buena Vista Township police Sgt. James Baker.
Baker, a 16-year veteran of the force, took our TV5 cameras along for a ride on Monday.
Baker said he’s never been more concerned, not only about crime but an upcoming millage. “This time we're in dire need of it because we're going to lose officers,” said Baker.
In addition to a millage for the Saginaw County Sheriff's Department, Buena Vista voters will see several measures on the ballot, including one to renew funding for public safety. But this time, officials are also asking for an increase.
Police Chief Brian Booker said if residents turn down the proposals, the effects will be devastating. If both proposals fail, four to five officers could lose their jobs. “We need the renewal and additional mil just to maintain what we have,” said Booker.
When it comes to cities or townships with less than 10,000 people, the Buena Vista Police Department is the most active in the state of Michigan. On average, the police respond to about 15,000 calls per year and Baker said he can't imagine what it would be like if they had to lay people off.
“If the millage doesn't pass we have a potential of losing some officers,” said Baker. “We lose officers; there are two of us out here right now -- I might be out here by myself.”
And if both proposals fail in Buena Vista, the fire department will also have to make three to four layoffs.
The details of the millage are reproduced below: MILLAGE RENEWAL PROPOSAL FOR POLICE & FIRE
For the purpose of continuing the millage for operating the Police and Fire Departments, shall the previous voted increase in the tax limitation imposed under Article IX, Section 6 of the Michigan Constitution on general ad valorem taxes within the Charter Township of Buena Vista, Saginaw County, Michigan be renewed at 2 Mills (($2.00 per $1,000 of taxable value) for a period of ten (10) years from 2011 to 2020, inclusive, for operating purposes to provide funds for police and fire protection; and shall the Township levy such millage for such purpose, thereby raising an estimated $436,000 in the first year the millage is levied, of which a portion will be disbursed to the Charter Township of Buena Vista Downtown Development Authority (DDA).

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