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Millage renewals on ballot for police, fire, roads

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published July 20, 2016

BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP — If the hotly contested races for supervisor, clerk, treasurer and trustee weren’t enough, voters in Bloomfield Township have a couple more decisions to make when they hit the polls for the Aug. 2 primary election.

On the ballot are proposals to renew the Zoological Authority millage for all Oakland County residents, along with requests for township residents to renew millages for public safety and road maintenance.

About 1,500 homes in the township will also be asked to renew funding — with an increase — for Avondale Public Schools.

The public safety millage would renew a levy of 1.9935 mills for 10 years to support fire, police and public safety protection. This is the first time the millage has come up for renewal. It costs about $368 annually for homeowners with a taxable home value of just under $185,000.

Bloomfield Township Police Chief Geof Guadard said the funding is necessary to keep police service at the level residents currently enjoy.

“We’re hopeful and confident our residents will continue to support us,” he said. “The millage is just to continue current operations. It doesn’t contain any increases.”

Asked what could happen if the millage were not renewed, he said cuts to officers on staff would need to be made.

“Any department, probably more than 90 percent of their budget is personnel. Any major cuts would have to come from there,” he said.

Also hoping for a “yes” vote is Bloomfield Township Public Works Director Tom Trice, who said road maintenance millage renewal is vital to keeping things like snow removal and pothole repair under township control.

“Under Public Act 51, (the millage) is required for us to have a contract with the Road Commission (for) Oakland County. Without that millage, we wouldn’t qualify to have that contract. Without that contract, we wouldn’t be maintaining the roads any longer, and the services would be provided by the Road Commission — on their time clock, not ours.”

The price for keeping road maintenance in the township? It’s 0.7115 mills for 10 years, which is up for renewal, and that equates to about $131 annually for homeowners with a taxable home value of just under $185,000.

Clerk Jan Roncelli said the roads millage has been in place since the ’60s, having been renewed roughly five times.

Trice said residents respond “overwhelmingly” to the level of service they get keeping road maintenance in-house.

“The county is just now finishing their first round of pothole patching in the townships they maintain. We’ve already gone through ours four times,” he said. “For snow, it takes the county approximately three to four days after a storm to clear all the roads. We usually get it cleared in one day.”

To see the full ballot language for both millage renewal proposals, head to the Election Guide section.