Swartz Creek City Council approves special tax - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Swartz Creek City Council approves special tax to support police, fire departments

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(12/10/13) - Swartz Creek residents will pay more taxes to help support the police and fire departments.

City council members approved a special assessment Monday night.

It will run the average homeowner about $15 more a month, according to Police Chief Rick Clolinger.

He said city leaders considered several options, including taking it to the voters, but this seemed to be the one that fit best to ensure the money needed would be available.

"We'll never go broke, but we can't maintain the services that we maintain," Clolinger said.

That was the scenario before Swartz Creek City Council approved a 4.9 mills special tax Monday night, according to Clolinger.

"It's $625,000," he said.

Three public hearings were held and the majority of the small number of people who did attend, Clolinger said, did support the tax increase though some wanted to be able to vote on it.

Clolinger said city leaders were concerned there wasn't enough information made available to go that route and there was no guarantee the public would pass it.

He says they need the money now like so many other Mid-Michigan cities.

"Taxable values are going down," Clolinger said. "We're losing money."

Some of the money will be used to hire two full time police officers and for the fire department to buy equipment in the future.

Husband and wife Roy and Jeanne Beville agree public safety is important, and they support the tax increase, but disagree on how the money came to be.

"I think they should have let people vote," Roy said.

"I don't think we needed to have a vote," Jeanne said. "I feel we vote for the city council members already and we entrust them to represent the views."

Clolinger said the special assessment runs for a maximum of 10 years and has the ability to be adjusted up or down if needed.

Residents do have the option of challenging it by ballot through a referendum.

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