City of Standish considering police millage
STANDISH — The Standish City Council approved wording outlining a two-year, two-mill police millage, which will be presented in millage language to be voted on by the council at its Aug. 18 meeting.
The council approved the wording 4-0 at a Thursday, Aug. 11 special meeting. Council members Clark Sanford, Ed Reno and Tosha Tunney were absent.
If the council approves the language, the millage will be voted on by residents in the Nov. 2011 election.
Mayor Mark Winslow said that the city’s general fund is currently funding the Standish Police Department. He said that the department’s 2011-2012 budget currently stands at $82,800.
“(The millage) would take a lot of pressure off of our general fund,” Winslow said.
He said that the council debated on how large to make the millage, finally settling on two mills, which would bring in around $77,000, nearly enough to fund the police department.
“It was the consensus of the council that we should do two mills for two years and see where we’re at in two years,” Winslow said. “We really don’t know what the future holds.
If the millage fails, Winslow said, the city would continue operating the Police Department, but would likely reexamine the department’s budget, which could result in cuts to the department. He said that the department will continue to operate regardless of the outcome of the millage vote.
“We would be able to continue to fund it, but it would be very much of a strain (on the city),” Winslow said. “The community has indicated to me that they want a Police Department.
Winslow said that, if passed, the millage would increase taxes to city residents that have property with a taxable value of $40,000 by about $80. He said that the total of all city millages currently stands at 17.9 mills, around $718 for properties with a taxable value of $40,000.
“I understand that the residents are paying a fairly high tax bill,” Winslow said. “We didn’t look at this lightly. I hope that the people understand that a Police Department is an important feature of a community. We’re hoping this will help solve some problems we’re having here.”
According to Winslow, the wording is being sent for review by the city’s attorney, who will write the language of the millage, which will be voted on at the next council meeting. He said that the millage has to be submitted to the Arenac County Clerk by Aug. 30 in order to appear on the November ballot.