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Video: Township Takes No Action on Special Assessment Ballot Proposal

Approval would have put question on ballot to create special assessment district to preserve current level of fire service in Plymouth Township.

The Plymouth Township Board of Trustees took no action Tuesday on a ballot proposal that, if approved, would put a tax issue on the Nov. 8 ballot.

Jennifer Mann of the Citizens Action Group of Plymouth Township submitted 3,415 signatures on a petition on Aug. 16 to create a special assessment district where residents would be levied one mill, or approximately $150 per year, to continue the level of fire services they have now for five years. 

The township's fire agreement with the City of Plymouth for shared services will dissolve on Jan. 1, 2012, as the city partners with the City of Northville. According to Mann, the department will lose the ability to provide EMS services after the agreement dissolves.

According to the township, the petition failed to account for 10 percent of the township's land. According to a map provided by the township, 8.8868 percent of the township was covered without condominiums included because of questionable land ownership statuses with those residences. The total amount of township land excluded tax-exempt properties, such as schools, churches and township-owned land.

The at-times heated special meeting at had audience members standing in the back and several audience members engaging board members in back-and-forth debate.

Township Attorney Timothy Cronin told trustees that even though the petition did not meet the minimum requirements, they could still vote at their discretion to send it to the county for ballot consideration. The board took no action on the issue.

Earlier in the meeting, Cronin cautioned board and audience members that if approved, a statute states that in a specal assessment district, fees could reach as high as 10 mills if future board members decide to vote for increases. The public, Cronin said, wouldn't be able to vote on future increases.

After the meeting, Mann said she was "disappointed," but wouldn't rule out rushing to take action to meet the Aug. 30 ballot deadline to try to get the question on the Nov. 8 ballot. She said she would consult with her group's lawyers to explore her options.

Kristen August 25, 2011 at 01:52 PM
I think as a community the importance of maintaining what we have is needed - I always say, "Better to have have and not need, than need and not have."
Carol L August 25, 2011 at 01:53 PM
Do I want to keep what we have in fire service today? YOU BET I DO, thats why i voted to increase public safety milege in 2005. The citizens keep their part of the bargain now its time for the Twp to put money in the kitty like they should be doing. It is no secret how much it takes to support our fire dept with the current staff but since the Twp continues to spend $$$ in other recreational areas I would not trust that the fire dept would receive what they need to operate. It's time for the public to wake up and start checking on where your tax dollar goes. Your public safety is NOT the officials main concern, recreation is! Start attending meetings and get informed before you get ready to vote in 2012. Concerned citizens meeting Aug 30 at 7PM at the Plymouth library in the Friends Rm.
Bryan Bentley (Editor) August 25, 2011 at 04:04 PM
There are two basic things that a city or township must consider as the main priorities. Police protection, and a reliable Fire Department. These are services that residents want to be able to depend on without reservation. These brave men and women put their lives on the line every time they punch that clock, and they deserve no less then all of the tools needed to keep the citizens of Plymouth Township safe, as well as themselves. As we head towards a dark anniversary in our Nation's history, I find it troubling that the Township Board of Trustees seem to be the monkey wrench in getting this very important issue on the ballot for the taxpayers to decide.
John McKay (Editor) August 25, 2011 at 04:40 PM
Keep up the discussion, folks. I might compile some of the best responses into a "You Said It" feature. This definitely is a heated issue... are any residents on the opposing side? Would anyone here oppose a one-mill increase to continue the same level of fire services?

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