Election

Guest Article: Jane Kleban on Wixom’s Millage Renewal

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Some final facts to consider before voting Yes or No on Wixom’s Millage Renewal.

  • Wixom has an excellent Police Department with a good ratio of officers to residents. According to the Mayor, nearly 90% of all crime is confined to a single apartment complex, making the rest of the City safer for other residents. The previous millage allowed three new officers to be hired and $272,000 new vehicles and equipment to be purchased.
  • Also, according to the City’s website, our Fire Chief, staff and 20 paid on-call volunteers have 10 dedicated vehicles to help them fight fires and perform emergency rescues (including 2 engines, 2 medical vehicles, 1 aerial platform ladder truck, 1 grass fire rig, 1 heavy rescue, 1 tanker, a tech rescue trailer and a special response vehicle). Two of those vehicles were purchased since the last millage at a cost in excess of $700,000.
  • The DPW also serves the community well, plowing streets picking up leaves and maintaining city parks and property with $837,000 in new vehicles purchased since the last millage increase.
  • So how have we paid for these and other services? First there’s the 7.9 mill city operating budget which covers the bulk of City expenses. Then there’s the 3.5 in additional “make whole” mills levied in 2012, and the 1.15 mills for local roads and .3 mills for the safety path, and 1.7460 for water/utility. That’s one base rate, plus four additional millages–not including the separate library millage, which was recently passed thanks to the support of the community. In addition, the City receives several millions of dollars in grants for road construction and sewer maintenance, and has collected more than $1 1/2 million in building and construction permits according to the City Manager.
  • The city has done so well that after paying all of the City bills, cutting expenses, and spending more than $2 1/2 million dollars on one-of-a kind services and equipment designed to last 5-20 years (like those listed above), there is more than $4.81 million in surplus funds in what’s called the Budget Stabilization Budget. In addition, the City maintains an emergency Fund Balance of $1,644,868. Added together that’s $6,454,868 over and beyond the city’s $10.533 million dollar city budget.
  • Call it what you will–judicious spending, belt tightening, over taxation, or a combination of all three. This surplus will more than cover any potential reductions in police, fire, DPW, senior center and Community Center services for the next few years. So there is no reason to lose the services we have come to expect.
  • The common sense position appears be to Vote No on the 3.5 “new dedicated tax” and ask the City Council to reconsider a more realistic rate in a year or two. The 3.5 rate is just too greedy.
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