Cindy Berry, the newly elected Chesterfield Township clerk, wants to reduce local government costs by 30 percent, develop a more favorable business environment, and eliminate the administrative fee on winter tax bills.
The 30% reduction, Berry said, would be money returned to Chesterfield’s taxpayers.
“I can’t guarantee that it’s going to happen but I’m certainly going to be an advocate for it,” she said in an interview this week.
Even the police department, which has said it needs additional funding, could benefit by the potential cut, Berry said.
“Hopefully, the board will also vote to return those tax dollars to those officers who are residents here,” she said.
Police officials have said that Chesterfield’s police department could face up to 17 layoffs if the protection proposal failed. After voters rejected the tax hike, Police Chief Bruce Smith said layoffs would not immediately happen as he reassessed the department's finances. Berry said that the department is currently fully funded, and the budget concern is for 2013-14. She said she is going to talk to Smith about the issue.
“What we’re going to need to do is put together a plan with the chief of police; take his recommendations to find out where he can make changes in his department,” she said. “There are definitely going to have be some adjustments made to their year-to-year projections for their budget.”
According to Berry, a former business owner, businesses in Chesterfield have too much regulation. She said it’s easier to start a business in Macomb Township because it has fewer restrictions and lower taxes.
To develop a better business environment, “We need to lower costs by lowering fees and taxes,” she said.
And eliminating the winter administrative fee “will immediately lower taxes for everyone,” she said. “There’s really no reason for it to be there,” Berry said. “It’s really nothing other than for the township to raise revenue.”