Public safety millage renewal to appear on Aug. 6 ballot

By: Mary Beth Almond | Birmingham-Bloomfield Eagle | Published July 2, 2024


BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP — A millage renewal focused on public safety will be voted on in Bloomfield Township Aug. 6.

The public safety millage renewal asks voters to consider authorizing a public safety tax levy of 0.6474 mills, which is due to expire in 2026, to finance the township’s continued fire, police and public safety services.

Township Treasurer Michael Schostak said that, if approved, the renewed millage would be levied beginning in December 2026 for a period of 10 years.

“We want to … make sure we have it in a regularly scheduled election, so as not to incur unnecessary costs, because in 2025, I don’t believe we have any elections, other than if the school district does something,” he explained.

The township currently has three public safety millages — public safety No. 1, public safety No. 2 and a replacement millage approved by voters last year that combined public safety No. 3 and No. 4 with an increase of 0.6021 mills — for an overall total of 6.4087 mills in fiscal year 2023-2024.

“This is the smallest of the three, and, in fact, really only comes out to about 10% of the total tax revenue that we get in the public safety fund from these three millages,” said Schostak.

He noted that when first levied, the millage was 1.0 mills, but due to Headlee rollbacks, it’s now at 0.6474 mills. The millage renewal requests an authorization of that rolled-back rate.

“That’s about 64 cents for every $1,000 of taxable value, and the first levy of the renewal would be on the December taxes of 2026,” said Schostak.

“This is a renewal. There is no increase whatsoever. … That’s all it is,” added Trustee Neal Barnett.

If the tax is approved and fully levied, officials estimate the Aug. 6 millage would result in the authorization to collect $4 million for public safety annually.

“The money is used for everything,” Police Chief James Gallagher said. “It’s personnel. It’s equipment. It’s technology. So, it’s very important to us.”

If the millage doesn’t pass, Gallagher said the township would have to look at what public safety services and positions it should not fill and what equipment not to upgrade.

“We would just have to prioritize what services we deemed important to the residents,” he said. “If we had to cut personnel or equipment, that affects response times in the end, so it’s our hope that we don’t get there.”

Since it’s a renewal, if the millage passes, Fire Chief John LeRoy said the same amount of money would continue coming into the Fire Department.

“It just allows us to maintain our current operations going forward,” he said.

LeRoy said Fire Department-related costs are “astronomical” right now, adding that a fire truck the department purchased for $524,000 in 2019 costs over $960,000 today.

“Just for us to be asking for a renewal says a lot about how we’ve been able to maintain. Even in this ever-increasing world of costs, we’re just maintaining the funds, instead of asking for more, and it’s like that across the board with all of our equipment.”

For more information, call the township at (248) 433-7700.