Gaines Township votes down a 10-year tax to pay for their police department

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GAINES TOWNSHIP (WJRT) (11/6/2019) - The Gaines Township Police Department's future is now in question after voters reject a $110 annual special assessment on Tuesday.

Gaines Township has been using money from their general fund to pay for operating the police department after a millage expired. But special assessment failed by a nearly 3-to-1 margin at the polls.

Gaines Township voters were reluctant to talk about the issue. However, a few expressed concerns about the proposed 10-year tax increase to pay for a chief and three part-time officers.

"Money. Like I say, taxes are high already," said resident Jerry Irwin. "And I don't know, we have a pretty good neighborhood, so I don't count on the police that much."

Fellow Gaines Township resident Dennis Jenkins agreed that the township doesn't need its own police department to cover its nearly 7,000 residents.

"We have no crime in this area to speak of," he said. "I mean, little things, but the state police and the sheriff are always here, or we have (the Metro Police Authority of Genesee County) that comes."

One day after residents voted down the proposal, Township Supervisor Paul Fortino predicted changes for the police department are coming.

"There's going to be cuts to services. There's going to be cuts to manpower," he said. "It just happened yesterday, so the chief and I haven't had a chance to talk and discuss of how we're going to approach it."

Fortino added that the special assessment was needed due to other expenses in the community like infrastructure, which are putting more pressure on the general fund.

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