(11/07/12) - In Flint, taxpayers are about to dig a little deeper.
59 percent of the city's voters said 'yes' to the public safety millage issue on Tuesday's ballot. The millage is intended to stabilize the city's public safety departments. The departments are partially supported by grants.
That number is not final, with some absentee ballots that still need to be counted, but it's looking like a done deal.
The six mill tax increase is estimated to cost the average Flint home owner an additional $79 a year.
Kathleen Odom has lived in Flint most of her life. She voted 'no' on the public safety millage.
"We pay enough, I mean everything is going up, nobody can afford to live, our houses are being deserted one after another and yet they want to put more taxes on the people that are trying to stay here and survive and I don't think that's fair to us," she said.
City leaders say the millage is designed to stabilize the city's public safety departments, which are partially supported by grants right now. Some homeowners don't mind the bump in their tax bill.
"We need the cops, we need the fire department, as long as the city council and the mayor and everybody else makes sure the money actually goes to the department it goes to instead of funding for other things, I'm all for it," said homeowner Eric Ferrigan.
Flint's Firefighter union endorsed the millage.
The Flint's Police Officer's Association is the city's only public safety union that stayed neutral.
We spoke with city leaders from both departments.
"We stayed neutral because they couldn't guarantee a number of officers or fireman that they would add to the workforce now, which is a guarantee that we couldn't give the public," said Kevin Smith of the Flint Police Department.
"It gives us peace of mind knowing that the city has taxpayer dollars that will be used to keep our ranks from declining, especially in light of expiring grants in the future that we have something to fall back on," said Trent Farnsworth, president of the Flint Firefighters Union.
Flint's emergency manager says no decisions on additional police and fire staffing are likely to be made until the beginning of next year.
"The millage will be accessed in the December tax bills and we'll implement things probably early the first part of next year once the revenue starts coming in from the property taxes. This would give us the ability to stabilize and probably add officers to our force," Ed Kurtz said.
Again, there are still absentee ballots that have to be counted, but Mayor Dayne Walling says he doesn't believe the numbers will change the outcome of the election.
Tax payers could see a tax increase from the millage starting in December.
ABC12 Main Station