By Shelby Stewart
Brandon Twp.- On Tuesday night the board of trustees voted 6-1 to approve the 2019 millage rates. Trustee Kris Kordella voted against the rates.
According to the proposal to the board, the Library debt millage is no longer included because it was paid in full with the 2017 tax collection.
Due to the Headlee reduction fraction, the general operating millage decreased from .9746 to .9723. The fire operating and fire E&H tax rates will remain the same as last year, however, the police millage levy will increase this year from 3.8 to 4.1204. Voters approved up to 4.25 mills for police in the November 2018 election. The millage request must be levied for the full amount the first year it is levied, but because it was not levied the same year it was voted in, it is subject to the Headlee reduction fraction.
Residents at the meeting spoke against the increase in the millage levy. Resident Cheryl Gault expressed concerns that she had not seen a budget for the township, and that there is almost 50 percent operating costs in the general fund that could be transferred to the police budget.
“We did have a budget that we looked at,” said trustee Dana DePalma. “Our CPA firm is recommending that we keep 50 percent as a minimum, so that’s what we’re working towards. MTA (Michigan Township Association) says we have to do this.”
The board was in agreement that MTA advised them the full millage amount must be levied for the first year. It is less than the 4.25 due to the Headlee reduction fraction, which requires a local unit of government to reduce its millage when annual growth on existing property is greater than the rate of inflation.