DELTA TWP. - Township voters will decide on two tax proposals in November that, if both are approved, would generate about $34 million over the next 10 years for public safety.
The first proposal is a 1-mill, 10-year tax that would generate $1.7 million per year to help fund police, fire, and public safety operating expenses.
The second, another 1-mill, 10-year tax, would generate $1.7 million per year for the construction of a new sheriff substation building. Both taxes would be levied from 2023 to 2032.
Delta Township's Board of Trustees voted during its Monday meeting to put both measures on the Nov. 8 ballot.
Here's what residents need to know about both of the proposed taxes:
What would a 'public safety' tax pay?
The first tax proposal, referred to as a "public safety millage" in online township records, would help pay for police, fire, and public safety operating expenses.
The township has been paying Eaton County to provide those services through a contract that's been in place since 1970, Delta Township Manager Brian Reed said.
Right now, the services are paid for from the township's general fund. The patrol staff assigned by Eaton County includes 33 employees, including a lieutenant, four sergeants, four detectives and 21 deputies.
Delta Township operates its own fire department, Reed said.
Officials: Rising costs prompted tax proposal
Reed said the proposed tax would generate $1.7 million a year to help cover expenses, which have been on the rise.
In a memo to the Board of Trustees, Reed and Delta Township Finance Director Courtney Nicholls said the "main cost drivers are fringe benefits, primarily retirement costs through the (Municipal Employees Retirement System)."
"The township has tried to manage these costs, last eliminating two positions from its sheriff’s contract in 2018, which helped to control some escalation, however, the last two years, the contract has shown considerable increases," according to the memo.
During the 2021-22 budget year the township paid just more than $3.7 million for the county's Delta Patrol, according to township records. For the 2022-23 budget year the township will pay just more than $4 million.
Needs at the township's substation
The Eaton County Sheriff's Office substation for its Delta Township Patrol, located at 7736 Administration Road, was built in 1982.
The building serves as the base of operations for the patrol, which serves the township's approximately 33,000 residents.
Township officials have been discussing the need to rebuild it since 2006, Reed said, but plans were shelved during the recession that followed a few years later.
In 2019, a facilities study indicated the 7,100-square-foot building was "functionally obsolete and that it needed so much work that it would be better to look at a rebuild," Reed said.
The building is cramped, its mechanical, plumbing, electrical and technology systems are in poor condition, and there are significant roof and site drainage issues, he said.
What would a new tax pay for?
Township officials hope to demolish the existing substation and build a new one at the same site, Reed said. The project is expected to cost about $15 million.
The proposed building would be more than double the size of the current facility, at 16,400 square feet.
It would include interview rooms, an appropriately sized and outfitted locker room, a squad room and work spaces for deputies, including proper facilities for female deputies, Reed said.
Without passage of the proposed tax, he said, officials won't have the funds for the project.
The township did receive $3.4 million from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, Reed said. More than $1 million of it has been spent on fire department equipment, including a fire engine, two ambulances, and partial replacement of an aerial apparatus.
What will both proposals cost property owners?
Since both taxes would be set at 1 mill, they would each cost the owner of a home with a $75,000 taxable value an estimated $75 per year. Each would cost the owner of a home with a $150,000 taxable value an estimated $150 a year. If both pass, the cost is doubled.
Contact Rachel Greco at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @GrecoatLSJ .
This article originally appeared on Lansing State Journal: Eaton County's Delta Township seeks pair of taxes for police, fire