Shelby voters to decide police services, police and fire pension millage renewals

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published July 28, 2021

 One of the millage renewals on the ballot Aug. 3 will pay for the general operations of the Shelby Township Police Department, if renewed. The other millage renewal on the ballot will fund police and fire pensions, if renewed.

One of the millage renewals on the ballot Aug. 3 will pay for the general operations of the Shelby Township Police Department, if renewed. The other millage renewal on the ballot will fund police and fire pensions, if renewed.

Photo provided by Shelby Township

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SHELBY TOWNSHIP — As part of the primary election Aug. 3, Shelby Township residents will vote on renewals of the township’s existing police services millage and police and fire pension millage.

The millage renewal proposals would keep the current millage rates that provide the funding for general police operations and the police and fire pension fund. If approved, the township would not increase its tax rates and would “keep the lowest tax rate among full-service Macomb County communities, including full-time police and fire protection,” according to a township press release.

Finance Director Allan McDonald said the police services millage is the primary source of funding for police protection services, including the purchase of vehicles and equipment, as well as personnel costs.

“The Police and Fire Pension Millage is used to fund retiree pension expenses and pay down the retiree pension debt that was taken on to fully fund the pension system in 2014,” he said in an email.

Township Supervisor Rick Stathakis said that Shelby Township is special in its ability to provide full-time police and fire protection.

“When first elected in 2008, I made it very clear I would never support a tax increase. These ballot proposals are not tax increases. They maintain the 9.2999 local millage rates that fund all of our services and departments. Those rates have not increased since 2008, and they will not change while I am in office,” he said in a press release.

Township voters approved 2.73 mills to provide for police services in 2002. This year is the end of that approval’s 20-year term. The renewal, if approved, will take effect in 2023 and run through 2042.

Township Clerk Stanley Grot said it is important that voters consider the proposals.

“It is essential that voters remember these proposals as part of the partisan primary election. Even if they do not want to vote in the partisan primary election, voters can still cast a ballot for the millage proposals,” he stated in the press release.

The partisan section of the primary election in Shelby Township Aug. 3 consists of only a partial term as state senator for District 8. The winners of the Democratic and Republican primaries Aug. 3 will compete for the one-year partial term Nov. 2.

“The renewal proposal for the police and fire pension millage maintains the fully funded pension fund for the township’s police officers and firefighters,” the township press release states.

Shelby Township voters approved the 0.5 mills millage rate for the pension fund in 2002. If renewed, the term of the approval will be 2023 through 2042.

Stathakis said the township is able to do this because of the work and dedication of its employees and the Board of Trustees.

“Together, we make the most of every penny we collect and ensure we provide the best possible service at the lowest possible cost,” Stathakis stated. “These rates show that Shelby Township remains the best bargain in all of Macomb County if not the state of Michigan. Despite building a new police station and adding police services like a fully-staffed traffic unit, a community services unit and our tactical response unit, we are holding the tax rate to the same level it was in 2002, when the police department served roughly 13,000 fewer residents.”

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