2014-04-24 / Front Page

Saginaw Twp. seeks 15-year, 5.5-mill tax for police dept.

By Brandy Abraham

The Saginaw Township Board of Trustees will ask voters in August to approve a 5.5-mill tax for a period of 15 years to fund the continued operation of the Saginaw Township Police Department.

Saginaw Township Supervisor Tim Braun said that their current 3-mill levy, approved by electors in 1994, expired in December 2013. Braun said that the Saginaw Township Board of Trustees pledged to not ask for additional funds if the millage passed, and that promise has been kept.

“Now we must look toward the future of our township,” Braun said. “I personally believe, our police chief believes and our department heads believe that maintaining that promise was a top priority, but now that levy is expired and we have to think longterm.”

J.J. Boehm, chairman of Citizens for a Safe Saginaw Township, said he has always considered Saginaw Township a safe community.

“I was pleasantly surprised to learn that crime in the township has decreased by 40 percent since the last millage was passed in 1994,” he said. “This is a tribute to the high quality and professional service provided by Saginaw Township Police. As a father, husband and homeowner, I hope this trend of reduced crime continues, and I recognize that maintaining current levels of law enforcement are necessary to achieve this.”

The Saginaw Township Police Department has grown significantly over the past 20 years, with an increase of 19 to 43 officers who have worked to implement a variety of crime prevention programs during that time.

“The goal is to prevent crime in Saginaw Township and work in true partnership with our citizens and our business owners to give them tips, techniques to keep their homes and community safe,” said Police Chief Donald Pussehl Jr. “The current 3-mill levy has allowed us to establish these programs and achieve our goals up until now.”

Pussehl Jr. said that about five years ago, the police department’s 3-mill tax did not collect enough funds to support the department. He said that although they receive $932,000 from the Saginaw Township’s general fund, the 3-mill tax does not cover the current $6 million budget and expenses.

“Under the current 3-mill (tax) we wouldn’t be able to support our current staff and continue to grow as a department and township,” he added.

The addition of 2.5 mills, over the 15-year term, will provide funding for up to three additional officers and allow the department to implement and carry out programs which will sustain and enhance the security and confidence of businesses, resident and visitors in Saginaw Township.

Over the next 15 years, the police department looks to maintain and enhance their fully staffed Patrol Division, increase the level of medical training for their officers so they can provide the best care possible in the field, as well as implement a variety of programs like the Traffic Crash Reduction, Alzheimer’s Response, Senior Citizen Care and Free Cell Phone for Senior Citizens Programs.

The focus of the previous 20-year millage was to establish a Crime Prevention Program. With that promise kept, the new millage will maintain the many Crime Prevention services that were developed as well as provide the opportunity to add an additional officer to the Crime Prevention Unit.

The Board of Trustees voted on Monday, April 14 to adopt a resolution approving the millage ballot language for the police department. This tax proposal will appear on the township’s Aug. 5 primary election ballot.

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