Police, pathway millages on November ballot

By: Linda Shepard | Rochester Post | Published September 28, 2016


OAKLAND TOWNSHIP — Township residents will decide two local ballot questions in November.

A police millage is up for renewal, along with a safety path millage; the safety path millage renewal represents a slight reduction.

The Oakland Township Board of Trustees approved language for both ballot questions Sept. 13.

Oakland Township voters will be asked whether they approve renewing a police millage for a six-year continuation of 1.6998 mills to provide for equipment, operating costs, personnel costs and more.

A safety path and trails network ballot question proposes the renewal of a 10-year levy at a reduced millage rate of 0.17 mill, down from 0.25 mill.

The Board of Trustees voted 6-1 in favor of the ballot language for both proposals. Township Supervisor Terry Gonser voted no, stating that since taxable values in Oakland Township have increased by 4 percent, the millages should be reduced by 2 percent.

“It would seem appropriate that (the funds) stay with the residents,” Gonser said.

Oakland Township Treasurer Jeanne Langlois did not agree.

“The intent is for that revenue to grow as the population of the township grows,” Langlois said. “Parks, for example, are being asked to serve a larger number of people — also factor in inflation.”

“Cities, villages and townships collect and maintain fund balances for the purpose of deferring expenses in the future,” Township Manager Dale Stuart said. “For example, in the last budget, a significant, larger amount was spent on roads than we have in past years because our gravel roads needed a certain kind of work. This money is not just sitting there with no potential purpose.”

Approval of the police millage would provide roughly $1.70 per $1,000 of taxable value on a resident’s home and would result in the collection of $2,224,309 in the first year. According to Oakland Township officials, the owner of a home worth $200,000 would pay approximately $170 per year for six years if the renewal is approved.

The safety path millage funds would be used for the construction and maintenance of a network of safety paths, trails and boardwalks to provide healthy recreational opportunities and safe routes to schools, parks and neighborhoods in the township, and the acquisition of property and rights of way, according to township officials.

Township officials estimate that the safety path proposal would result in up to $222,454.15 in the first year if approved and levied. Owners of a home priced at $200,000 would pay about $17 per year for 10 years if the millage is approved, according to Oakland Township officials.