Gladwin County voters to decide public safety millage - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Gladwin County voters to decide public safety millage

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GLADWIN COUNTY (WJRT) -

(10/22/13) - On Nov. 5, Gladwin County voters will be asked to if they'll pay more for public safety.

"We hope for the best and prepare for the worst," said Mike Shea, Gladwin County's sheriff.

The one mil, five year proposal would bring in nearly $934,000 the first year.

Most of the money would go to the county to pay for the sheriff's department, including animal control.

Meantime, the city of Beaverton would get $40,000 and the city of Gladwin would get $60,000.

As the millage is written, the money would go toward public safety.

"It's some tough times right now," Shea said. He was talking about the economic picture, leading into the important vote.

If the proposal passes, Gladwin County would keep its police protection as it is now. "I've been told by the county board chair that everything's going to stay as it is for right now, holding our own so to speak," Shea said.

It would also be status quo for the Gladwin Police Department.

While in Beaverton City Manager Kerry Posey says there could be some good news. "If it passes we will put on extra patrols, we may even create a fulltime position within the department."

Right now Beaverton has four parttime officers.

But the millage would come at a cost to taxpayers.

The Gladwin County Equalization Director says the average taxable value of a home is around $32,000. That one mil would then cost the average homeowner around $32 a year.

"I can't really say I can afford it but if you're going to have to pay it, you're going to have to pay it," Barbara Conner said. The Billings Township voter plans to support the millage.

At Macks on Main in Gladwin, diners are chewing over the pros and cons of the proposal.

"I've already voted yes, and I want it to pass because we need everything that's on there," Joan Berry of Grout Township said.

Jim Beecher vividly remembers when Everett Robinson escaped from an Arenac County Sheriff deputy in 2012, and his neighborhood was the center of the search. "It was a big deal and it was nice to know there was a lot of police in our area and if we had fewer, you know, who knows."

If the proposal is turned down, cuts aren't certain, but they also aren't out of the picture.

"The last thing I want to do is hold our policeman for ransom. You know, 'if you don't vote for this you're going to lose your policemen', or hold a community at ransom. These are some real tough economic times for everybody. You have to weigh out what you've got going on in your personal life and weigh it with you know with your public safety effort you have," Shea said.

While many agree they want to keep officers on the streets, Shea thinks it will all come down to personal finances. "Can they afford to vote yes? You know it's one of those everybody has to evaluate their own situation."

To help you better understand what's at stake, click HERE.

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