Orchard Lake residents had an opportunity to vote on the Police Department and Public Works Facilities Bond Proposal at Orchard Lake Village City Hall Nov. 2. The proposal ended up passing, with 317 residents voting yes and 168 voting no.

Orchard Lake residents had an opportunity to vote on the Police Department and Public Works Facilities Bond Proposal at Orchard Lake Village City Hall Nov. 2. The proposal ended up passing, with 317 residents voting yes and 168 voting no.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Following approval of $4.5M Orchard Lake police/DPW bond, work to begin in spring 2022

By: Mark Vest | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published November 10, 2021

 Pictured is a polling location at Orchard Lake Village City Hall Nov. 2. In Keego Harbor, there were two city council member spots available, with Brian Lampl being reelected to his position and Michael Karson earning a spot on City Council.

Pictured is a polling location at Orchard Lake Village City Hall Nov. 2. In Keego Harbor, there were two city council member spots available, with Brian Lampl being reelected to his position and Michael Karson earning a spot on City Council.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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ORCHARD LAKE — Residents of Orchard Lake said yes to a bond issue to pay for an expansion and modernization of the Police Department and to relocate the Public Works Department building Nov. 2.

Voters approved the ballot issue 317 votes to 168.

Gerry McCallum, who is the director of city services for the city of Orchard Lake Village, shared his thoughts about voters approving the proposal.

“There was some opposition to the proposal, and we’re excited for the project now that the bond issue’s behind us,” he said. “We’re gonna be moving forward with construction drawings and then bidding the project for, hopefully, a spring 2022 start. … We’re excited for this to move forward and increase the level of safety for the Police Department, and provide ample room and space for our DPW and all the equipment.”

Orchard Lake Police Chief Bill Nicholson expressed appreciation for the support the proposal received.

“It’s so exciting to be involved in something like this, and I’m so happy that the residents support us the way they do,” he said. “I didn’t think it would have a problem passing, but you never know until it’s over. … Now the real work starts. It’s probably gonna be controlled chaos around there for six months while they’re building, and we’re trying to work around them and stay out of their way.”

Nicholson shared his perspective on the most exciting aspect of the proposal being approved.

“I think it’s gonna make the department that much more secure,” he said. “We won’t have all those cars sitting outside now, between the elements and the possibility of vandalism. It’s gonna be a much safer environment, I think, for everybody involved.”

Before the vote, McCallum provided some insight about the Police Department and Public Works Department facilities bond proposal.

He said that, about five years ago, the Planning Commission put together a capital improvement plan, and one of the items in the plan was a sally port, which he said “is a secured entrance for the Police Department when they have a detainee or a prisoner. … 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.

“It’s a 20-year bond,” he said of the approved measure. “The principal and interest are added together, and then we will make that payment yearly.”

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.”

He said they hope that by going ahead now, they can 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,” he said.

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.

Nicholson said before the vote that “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.”

He also noted that there is no secure holding area when prisoners are brought in.

“They’re pretty much just sat down in, like, an office chair,” he said. 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.

As for DPW operations, McCallum said the city has “very expensive equipment that cannot be maintained properly due to the old garage not being able to service vehicles in a proper manner.”

He added that the project has no increase in millage rate.

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

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