In a previous post (Issue 24 – Request For Questions) I asked for resident questions about the upcoming Issue 24 on this November’s ballot. I will be posting the questions I received with the answers. Please send questions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or send them via the contact form.
Can you provide millage used for the last 10 years? To show this has been the practice ongoing.
The Charter has allowed the use of un-voted millage for City operations for over 50 years. From 1973 through 1996 un-voted Charter millage was used annually for general operations. In 1997 the City partnered with the school district to support the construction of the new high school. The proposal at the time was for the City to increase it’s income tax by one-half a percent and shift the existing 4.9 Charter mills of property tax to the school district. Although risky to place so much reliance on income tax, the City leaders were confident that the income tax generated from Chrysler alone would make up for giving away the Charter millage. This plan was successful until Chrysler shut down in 2009. Once again the City increased the income tax in 2010 by a quarter percent. After four years Council placed the quarter percent income tax on the ballot for renewal and it was voted down. Beginning in 2014, the City for the first time in over 40 years had neither Charter millage, Chrysler anchoring the income tax or the extra quarter percent of income tax providing much needed revenue.
With revenues decreased the City worked hard to stabilize the General Fund spending while still maintaining all of our City services and amenities. In 2014 General Fund expenditures were $27,789,501 and in 2019 the expenditures were $27,919,613, an increase of only .46%. During those 5 years we have maintained cost of living increases for all our employees, expanded our safety forces, seen significant increases in health insurance/benefits, and experienced an overall increase in operating expenses in every department.
We are at a point where we cannot continue to cut expenses. To do so would mean the loss of services and jobs. That is the reason Council approved the use of Charter millage to help fund our safety forces. The authorized millage supporting Police/Fire Pensions and Capital (fleet, equipment, station improvements) would provide an indirect benefit to all of our City services and operations. A NO vote on Issue 24 would guarantee needed revenue to our Police and Fire departments, but it would also provide needed relief to the General Fund that contributes to city-wide services and amenities.