2021 Public Safety Millage Request
The current 10-year public safety millage, set at 1.95, expires this year. We are proposing 3.95 mills for the next 10 years for 3 main reasons:
- To ensure the safety of our growing community: more people need more police and fire services to provide for their safety. We cannot afford to add personnel for the nearly 10,000 new Pittsfield Township residents since 2011 without a higher revenue stream.
- This growth and development and associated increases to the General Fund have allowed it to cover public safety costs. Currently, 60% of public safety revenue comes from the General Fund. However, as the Township looks to slow down development and focus more on preservation and with the County public safety and mental health millage set to expire in 5 years, a dedicated source of revenue is essential to provide for public safety.
- To sustain our current standard of an average response time of 5 minutes or less while having more resources to: (a) Expand social and racial justice initiatives; and (b) Work with social workers and other partners to more effectively address opioid and mental health issues as they relate to public safety.
The proposed 3.95 Public Safety Millage will not significantly alter Pittsfield Township's status as having one of the lowest tax rates in Washtenaw County while being one of only two full-service municipalities providing water, sewer, rubbish, parks and recreation, public safety (police and fire), assessing, and building services.
Failure to approve the 3.95 Public Safety Millage will require Pittsfield Township to reduce its services to our community ranging from police and fire to community development and sustainability. For police and fire it will likely include, but not be limited to, the following:
- Eliminate six (6) police officers
- Eliminate four (4) firefighters
- Maintain or cut salaries that will impact the quality of our workforce
- Defer our racial equity initiatives and programs
- Reduce essential training for police and fire personnel
- Extend equipment and vehicle lifespan beyond accepted best practice and standards
- More reactive police/fire responses & longer response times
- Reduce attendance at community events.
Total Millage Comparisons
Current (Public Safety 1.95 Mills)
Our fiscal stewardship of your tax dollars, over the past decade, is borne out by the fact that we:
- Have continuously reduced administrative costs, including through number of employees
- Have maintained the low administrative costs as evidenced by the fact that our overall expenditures have remained essentially the same over the past decade
- Have strategically deployed our limited sworn officers and firefighters, which has kept major crimes at essentially the same levels as a decade ago
- Acquired $50 million in grant funding, since 2009, to improve the safety and well-being for all in our community
For the last 10 consecutive years, Pittsfield Township has received the award of excellence in financial reporting, the highest form of recognition from the Governors Finance Officers Association (GFOA.)
Pittsfield Township is the only Township in all of Washtenaw County to receive this distinguished award on a continual basis over the past decade.
We need to plan for the next decade with the understanding that we have to:
- Serve a higher population base
- General Fund, the tax rate for which has remained untouched since 2009, is unable to continue providing the majority (about 60%) of our funding for Public Safety services
The passage of the Washtenaw County Mental Health and Public Safety millage in 2017 (funds available 2019-2026) along with the elimination of eight (8) positions in 2018 from dispatch has allowed us, for the past four years, to bring revenues more in line with expenditures without fully depleting the public safety fund balance.
However, the combined impact of the Great Pandemic*, reduced reliance on General Fund revenues, ambiguity of the County Millage after it expires in 5 years, need for greater social justice and equity work, and the increase in Pittsfield Township's population requires us to accrue greater revenue through the Public Safety millage.
Failure to approve the 3.95 Public Safety MIllage will require Pittsfield Township to reduce its services to our community ranging from police and fire to community development and sustainability. For police and fire it will likely include, but not be limited to, the following:
• Eliminate six (6) police officers
• Eliminate four (4) firefighters
• Maintain or cut salaries that will impact the quality of our workforce
• Defer our racial equity initiatives and programs
• Reduce essential training for police and fire personnel
• Extend equipment and vehicle lifespan beyond accepted best
practice and standards
• More reactive police/fire responses & longer response times
• Reduce attendance at community events
If you approve the request to increase the public safety millage, it will allow us to continue providing you with the Gold Standard of Public Service from your public safety team, which translates to:
• A response rate of 5 minutes or less
• A nearly 90% rate for solving major crimes
• Increased traffic safety and neighborhood patrols
• Systematic inclusion of racial and socio-economic equity outcomes
in all our public safety work processes and products
• Improve coordination with social workers and mental health professionals to improve public safety services' effectiveness
• Improved neighborhood engagement and community event
* The approximately $4M in one-time Federal stimulus money being received this year will help replenish depleted reserve funds and used as other grant funding, which is to implement singular projects to further Pittsfield's Sustainability code.