The Orchard Lake City Council approved moving forward with the facilities bond proposal as part of the ballot for the Nov. 2 election.

The Orchard Lake City Council approved moving forward with the facilities bond proposal as part of the ballot for the Nov. 2 election.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Orchard Lake residents to decide $4.5M facilities bond in Nov.

By: Mark Vest | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published September 22, 2021

 On Nov. 2, Orchard Lake residents are expected to decide whether or not to approve a $4.5 million bond proposal to pay for an expansion and modernization of the Police Department and to relocate the Public Works Department building.

On Nov. 2, Orchard Lake residents are expected to decide whether or not to approve a $4.5 million bond proposal to pay for an expansion and modernization of the Police Department and to relocate the Public Works Department building.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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ORCHARD LAKE — Residents of Orchard Lake will have a local proposal to consider Nov. 2.

Voters will be asked whether or not they want to approve a proposed $4.5 million bond to pay for an expansion and modernization of the Police Department and to relocate the Public Works Department building.

Orchard Lake City Services Director Gerry McCallum provided some insight about the Police Department and Public Works Department facilities bond proposal.

“About four to five years ago, the Planning Commission put together a CIP plan; we call it the capital improvement plan. One of the items on the plan was a sally port, which is a secured entrance for the Police Department when they have a detainee or a prisoner,” he said. “And then more recently, the City Council, about a year-and-a-half ago, almost two years ago, established a facility assessment ad hoc committee to look at a possible addition to the Police Department to include a sally port, some additional office space, and a garage for the Police Department vehicles. Also, part of this proposal was that the ad hoc committee was to look at, possibly, a new DPW garage.”

McCallum said Orchard Lake’s City Council approved moving forward with bonding for the project.

“The city budget has actually incorporated this bond payment for this fiscal year, which starts July 1, and to include the outgoing years of this bond payment without an increase in the millage rate,” he said.

McCallum shared some more specifics about the $4.5 million bond proposal.

“In order for the city to use its full faith and credit, we have to get approval of the electors to sell the bonds,” he said. “It’s a 20-year bond. The principal and interest are added together, and then we will make that payment yearly.”

If the bond proposal is approved, McCallum anticipates that ground would be broken for a Police Department addition and new DPW facility in the spring of 2022.

He said Orchard Lake’s City Hall offices and Police Department are more than 35 years old, with the public works building being “much, much older.”

According to information sent by McCallum, “The current administration believes there are deficiencies in these buildings, which would be corrected with the proposed project.”

“The intent of the committee was to say, ‘If we’re (going to) do this project, let’s do it all at once,’ for several reasons. One: hopefully, secure a very good bond rating, as municipal bonds are very low right now. Secondly, these projects would be more cost effective if we did them concurrently, (rather) than to separate them out,” McCallum said. “Basically, we have to go to the electors for the approval of it in order to be able to sell the bonds for this municipal improvement.”

According to ballot language, the estimated average annual millage rate required to retire the bonds is 0.5496 mills, which is 55 cents per $1,000 of a home’s taxable value.

“That’s the anticipated millage rate for the first year; then it’s (an) estimate for future years,” McCallum said. “It depends upon, obviously, the interest rates. The city is in pretty good financial shape. We might even be able to do additional payments and pay that bond off even sooner and not go the full 20 years.”

McCallum said that money to pay for the projects would be coming from general funds collected by the city.

He addressed the possibility of the proposal not being approved and what that would mean.

“If we didn’t get the bond approval, then we wouldn’t be able to do the projects concurrently,” McCallum said. “It’d be up to the City Council and city leaders if they would proceed in doing these projects, maybe separately — like, save up the money until you have enough money to pay for it, and do them separately. … We wouldn’t be able to take advantage of having both projects go at the same time for construction costs and stuff like that.”

According to Orchard Lake Police Chief William Nicholson, “there’s a couple major problems that we have right now.”

“One is that there’s no protective glass at the police desk, and it’s not separate from the City Hall,” he said. “Those need to be separated for the protection of the people going to do City Hall business and for the employees inside the Police Department — mostly the clerk that sits there by herself sometimes. The new building would separate those two, and there’d be two different entrances, one for City Hall, one for the police.”

Aside from having a garage to help keep vehicles “safe,” Nicholson also discussed something else that could come with potential improvements for the Police Department.

“Right now, there’s no secure holding area when prisoners are brought in. They’re pretty much just sat down in, like, an office chair,” he said. “We would really like to have a couple holding cells, which the new building (would) have.”

Nicholson also mentioned that the Police Department currently has no interview room for suspects, as well as for the general public when they make a report.

McCallum also addressed what he said is a fact regarding the DPW.

“We have a DPW operations that, we have very expensive equipment that cannot be maintained properly due to the old garage not being able to service vehicles in a proper manner,” he said.

There is one point in particular McCallum wanted to drive home.

“I can’t emphasize enough that this project has no increase in millage rate,” he said. “A lot (of) times when you see school bond proposals or any other community bond proposals, there usually is (an) increase in the millage. This is no increase in the millage for this upcoming fiscal year and for future years.”

Those who would like more information about the bond proposal can contact McCallum at dcs@cityoforchardlake.com.

For a description of the project and site plans, visit cityoforchardlake.com.

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