Frequently Asked Questions about the Public Safety Millage
Why do you need to increase the Public Safety millage rate when there is so much development occurring in Pittsfield Township?
The Great Recession (2010-2014) shrunk Pittsfield’s SEV but we relied on two revenue sources – Public Safety fund balance and General Fund revenues – to ensure no police or fire fighters were laid off. As such, Pittsfield Township was the only municipality to not lay off personnel during and immediately after the Great Recession.
The development activity over the past 5 years has helped Pittsfield recoup its lost SEV and has allowed General Fund to sustain current police, fire, and other operations. Even so, in 2018, the Township had to eliminate Dispatch and lay off eight (8) public safety personnel.
Going into the next 10 year Public Safety millage cycle, the following factors require an increased and dedicated revenue source to meet the basic public safety needs for all Pittsfield residents:
The Township is looking to focus more on preservation and less on development such that General Fund revenues cannot absorb increasing costs for public safety
The County’s Public Safety and Mental Health millage, which directs about $700,000 to public safety revenues, expires in 5 years
The population of Pittsfield Township has increased by nearly 10,000 residents which requires hiring more personnel to meet their basic safety needs while maintaining the Gold Standard of Public Service
Why do you need to increase the millage by so much?
The past decade, as a consequence of the Great Recession, witnessed an elimination of various dedicated state and federal revenue sources for public safety. Increasingly, local communities that can tax themselves are able to sustain current levels of services while others have witnessed a decline in the quality and quantity of public services.
The Township population has increased significantly over the past decade, by nearly 10,000 residents, which requires more police and fire personnel in order to maintain the current quality of service provision
The past decade has also significantly increased the mandates and requirements for public safety departments and personnel including, but not limited to:
Equipping police vehicles with in-car videos and computer hardware and software
Requiring fire personnel to be multi-faceted in their training, especially as it relates to meeting the needs of an aging population and responding to health-related 911 emergencies
Equipping police officers with body cameras
Providing for increased levels of continual trainings, including in the areas of equity, social justice, opioid crises management, domestic terrorism, etc.
Coordinating not just with state and federal law enforcement authorities but as well with local and state mental health and social work agencies
Increased reporting and bureaucratic requirements imposed on local law enforcement agencies by the state and federal authorities
Goal to increase self-reporting by the Township to provide for full disclosure and transparency with regard to use of force, traffic stops, police pursuits, and citizen complaints
Significant increased costs related to electronic data storage, sharing, and security; Information system security (particularly as related to electronic data sharing with federal and state authorities) and associated infrastructure management and upgrades of computer hardware and software to maximize cybersecurity