Bloomfield voters say no to public safety SAD

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published August 6, 2019

 Election signs are posted at a Bloomfield Township polling location Aug. 6.

Election signs are posted at a Bloomfield Township polling location Aug. 6.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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Asked whether they would prefer a special assessment tax to maintain township services or pay for retiree benefits with budget cuts — including the elimination of public safety positions —  the voters were clear: Make the cuts.

With 62.2% percent of the 10,736 votes cast Aug. 6, the dissenters came out on top against a 2.3-mill special assessment district plan that would have brought extra money into the coffers in the face of growing post-employment benefit obligation costs. The tax was promoted as a public safety effort because, in order to close a funding gap for retiree benefit costs, major cuts would need to be made across the board, including possibly scrapping the animal welfare division, fire services at Fire Station 4, and personnel jobs in police and fire.

The proposal received criticism from community members who said administrators were misleading the public by saying the cash would be used for public safety, and they demanded cost savings be found in the existing budget instead of raising taxes. 

Those in favor of the SAD argued that the shortfall to cover the OPEB tab would be between $5 million and $7 million annually, and slashing the budget alone wouldn’t make up the difference.

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