CENTER LINE — A request to extend a 10-year public safety millage for another decade was overwhelmingly approved by Center Line voters on March 10.
The 10-year extension of a maximum tax levy of 7.5 mills, stretching from 2022 to 2031, was approved by a margin of 71.8 percent (1,307 votes) to 28.2 percent (513 votes), according to unofficial results compiled by Macomb County elections officials.
“I’m very excited about the fact that it passed. It’s going to be great for the city,” Center Line Mayor Bob Binson said. “I think it’s a testament to how great our police department is, and obviously the citizens agree. We want to keep it that way.”
The original millage request to support Center Line’s police and fire services was rolled out in the wake of the Great Recession, when cash-strapped municipalities across the region struggled to pay fixed operational costs with a depleted tax base. During a special election in August 2011, 81.3 percent of Center Line voters approved the original levy, which now accounts for roughly 25% of the city’s $4.6 million budget for public safety.
The tax costs the owner of a property with an assessed value of $80,000 and a taxable value of $40,000 about $300 a year.
Center Line currently has 20 full-time employees in the Public Safety Department, including dispatchers, officers, detectives, lieutenants and the director. The city also has more than 25 reserve officers and 25 paid-on-call firefighters.
“It clearly showed that the residents of Center Line are satisfied with the Public Safety Department and what it is that they do for the taxpayers of this city,” City Manager Dennis Champine said. “We obviously will maintain our direction with how services are provided through the Public Safety Department.
“We’re going to determine if there’s an opportunity for us to improve services and/or add personnel,” Champine added. “It’s all going to be dependent upon the City Council and what direction they want to go in the future.”