Public Safety Millage passes

FLINT TWP. — All in favor – 5,212. All opposed – 4,237.

With all precincts reporting, the township police and fire millage won voter approval by 975 votes – 55.16 percent yes to 44.84 percent no, according to voting totals being reported early Wednesday morning by the Genesee County Election Division.

Township voters approved the 3.85 millage that is expected to generate about $3 million – about $1.5 million to maintain current level of services and the other half to fund public safety improvements. The millage was requested to help offset dwindling revenues as property taxes have declined 22 percent since 2007.

Due to reductions in the police budget, the township currently has 35 full-time police officers down from 45 a few years ago. There are currently 10 full-time firefighters down from 14.

Township Supervisor Karyn Miller had said that budget and staff cuts would be necessary, if the millage failed.

“Our citizens were faced with a big decision today,” Miller said in a written statement Tuesday night. “The successful passage of the police and fire millage reflects the priorities of the majority of our residents. This millage proposal acts as a referendum, the voters have spoken and we have heard them. As we have so diligently and carefully managed our finances over the last several years, making cuts where possible and increasing efficiencies, evidenced by our strong credit rating, we will continue to be fiscally responsible. Thank you for your trust!” She also expressed thanks to Flint Township Clerk Kim Courts and her office and to a Public Safety Committee who’ve spent the past eight weeks working to build community support for the millage. Police Chief George N. Sippert also thanked voters for supporting the millage. “Today our community made known their desire to continue and improve the public safety services provided by their local Township government,” Chief Sippert, said in a written statement. “I believe that providing for public safety is arguably the most important core service delivered by local government. Numerous volunteers spent many hours working hard on spreading the important facts about this public safety millage. The fact that the majority of our voters supported us today is encouraging.” He said the police department will immediately begin the process to improve services to previous levels. “The process of hiring and training police officers is vital to this goal,” he said. “We look forward to working together with our community and elected officials as we move ahead.” Fire Chief John Ringwelski could not be reached for comment.

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