Bloomfield Township voters will see a tax proposal on the Aug. 7 ballot to maintain current funding for police and fire protection.
The unanimously approved the ballot language during its regular meeting Thursday without much discussion. The measure will renew the expiring 2.39-mill tax that funded a portion of public safety needs over the past decade. If approved, the tax will begin Dec. 13, and is expected to generate $7.41 million in the first year. It is a 10-year renewal.
The board vote followed a brief presentation from Steve Mitchell, of Mitchell Research and Communications, Inc., which recently conducted a phone survey of residents. Mitchell said 75 percent of residents polled indicated they would either vote "yes" or probably vote "yes" if asked to renew the tax.
"There is clearly very strong support in the community for this kind renewal," said Mitchell, who did not have a full report to share with the public yet. He said they wanted to avoid any crossover with the controversial Bloomfield Hills Schools millage vote on May 8, and that the survey wasn't complete until last night.
“We waited until after last Tuesday's election to make sure the result of school election didn’t have an impact on what happened here," he said.
Township Supervisor Leo Savoie ensured a copy of the results would be posted on the township website shortly. He explained that commissioning the survey was more about gauging public sentiment than getting affirmation to go to the voters.
"The survey wasn’t so much whether we should go forward with the millage or not," he said. "It covers one-third of our public safety budget. We'd be forced to go forward with it even if results came back in a negative fashion.
"It was more, 'Is there something we’re not getting and that our residents are thinking in one direction and we're thinking in another direction.'”
Township resident Bill McMaster, state chairman of the Michigan Chapter of Taxpayers United, warned the board to consider the residents dealing with foreclosure, tax delinquencies, job loss and other financial problems.
"Once armed with (the Mitchell survey) you go ahead and launch the tax hike," he said. "I'd caution that despite the feeling that the worst is over, it ain't."