Chesterfield Police: Major Layoffs Expected if Tax Proposal Fails
Township police will hold a town hall meeting about the tax proposal at 7 p.m. Oct. 18 at L'Anse Creuse Middle School East at 30300 Hickey Road in Chesterfield.
Chesterfield Township police anticipate severe staff reductions if the proposed tax increase fails next month.
The department will host a town hall meeting about the Nov. 6 ballot proposal at 7 p.m. Oct. 18 at L'Anse Creuse Middle School East in the township.
According to a police presentation at the last town hall meeting, a voter rejection of the tax increase means:
- "Up to 40 percent of the department's patrol staff may be laid off in 2014 if funding is not approved. The patrol staff may be reduced from 43 to 26 officers. This reduction will result in increased emergency response times and elimination of some not in-progress/non-crime related services."
The police department already collects 5 mills that do not require renewal. Voters will be asked next month to approve another 2.5 mills that would be also be collected annually in perpetuity. The proposed increase will mean an average home owner will pay $200 a year, according to the department.
Police officials say an internal review of finances led them to the 2.5 mills request, saying it was the sole option that didn't end in a projected deficit within five years.
Police officials address questions about the indefinite state of the tax collection, if passed:
- "Due to Proposal A and the Headlee Amendment, the most that can be recovered yearly is the rate on inflation with a maximum pf 5 percent."
- "Five percent of $2 million is $100,000."
- "Resulting in a 20-year period just to recoup a $2-million-dollar loss."
- "The stability of the housing market is unknown at this point."
If approved, the 2.5 mills would mean:
- A full-service police department.
- No reductions of services.
- Services that have been cut or reduced can be restored, such as the K-9 unit, Traffic Bureau and lost patrol positions.
Police Chief Bruce Smith, township officials and auditors have pointed to a decrease in property values for the reason the police fund is heading toward depletion. The department is now covering revenue shortfalls from the force's savings account that will be diminished at the end of 2013.
Police say they need to maintain services in the community spanning 26-square miles with about 43,400 residents, and that includes highly traveled corridors like Gratiot, Interstate 94, several apartment complexes, commercial and industrial businesses, large shopping areas and more.
"At any given time, we have over 100 registered sex offenders that require monitoring," police noted in the presentation.
They also highlight high-profile crimes that have taken place in recent months, such as:
- The man accused of stabbing and robbing a woman in the McDonald's drive-thru.
- A suspected large-scale pot-growing operation in a Chesterfield home.
- An armed robbery at a dry cleaners on Gratiot.
- A cable man who allegedly stole thousands in jewelry from a township couple.
- Most recently, police tracked down a man accused of holding up a woman in the Kohl's parking lot. He was a registered sex offender living in the nearby Chesterfield Motor Inn.
See the complete ballot language in the November election guide for Chesterfield Township.
How do you plan on voting on the tax proposal? Why? Tell us in the comments section below.
See More on Patch
- Chesterfield Township to Hold Meeting on Police Budget
- Chesterfield Invites Public to Police Layoff Talks
- Chesterfield Supervisor: 'We Have to Live Within Our Means' (VIDEO)
- Poll: Would You Vote for a Chesterfield Township Police Tax Increase With a Time Cap?
- Chesterfield Township Police Layoffs Put on Hold