I am pleased to report that out of the 1,497 registered voters in the City of Sylvan Lake, 711 voters cast their ballot in the public safety millage. The final tally was 431 'YES' votes versus 290 'NO' votes. The City of Sylvan Lake will be able to afford their own police department.
Here's an excerpt from the minutes of the City of Sylvan Lake's June 29, 2011 study session, where the police department was discussed.
- "Chief Silver explained the Police Reserve program that has been started. He explained that they started working on this program about a year ago. He explained the interview and hiring process the potential reserves went through along with training at the reserve academy, background check and medical screening. The hiring process was treated the same as a full or part time officer. He went on to explain the various duties the reserves perform."
The minutes of this study session continue with detail on how the police chief was proceeding to help make his department more cost effective. Apparently, his vision for the police department won the voter's confidence. The reserve officers currently serving the city most likely promoted the 'yes' vote by providing excellent service and visibility to the residents.
I applaud the efforts of the City of Sylvan Lake leaders to keep all residents informed of the difficult decisions before them to keep their city viable and on budget. Their PowerPoint presentation clearly informed them about outsourcing the police department and dispatch services. Police Chief (Mark) Silver actively promoted the police reserve option. The voters were asked to make a choice at the ballot box.
As residents of Bloomfield Township, we were not informed on the ongoing negotiations with the City of Sylvan Lake. Had this millage failed in Sylvan Lake, Bloomfield Township was prepared to perform those police and dispatch duties for a "fee". Bloomfield Township police vehicles and officers would have been servicing Sylvan Lake. Where were our leaders in keeping the township residents informed? Our tax dollars were part of the proposed negotiations. Where was our choice?