Oak Park Voters Have Two Millage Renewals on Aug. 7 Ballot

Oak Park Voters Have Two Millage Renewals on Aug. 7 Ballot

(City of Oak Park, June 28, 2018)

Oak Park, MI – The City of Oak Park has approved two ballot measures that will be on the Aug. 7, 2018 ballot.

What are they?

Renewal of a Millage to Fund the Public Safety Retirement System Pursuant to Act 345 of 1937 (Police and Firefighters)

Revenue from this millage is restricted to funding Public Safety’s long-term retirement benefits (Public Safety’s pension and retiree health care) pursuant to Public Act 345 of 1937. The millage renewal will not exceed seven mills for a period of seven years.

In 2012, due to harsh budget constraints, the City was forced to lay off 15 officers. Because the voters passed the Public Act 345 millage in 2012, the City has been able to responsibly bring back many of those officers through the years.

If the millage renewal does NOT pass, the City will be forced to make difficult budget cuts across City departments, including possible lay-offs in Public Safety, in order to fund these growing retirement costs.

Renewal of Partial Headlee Override Millage for Public Safety Purposes (Police and Firefighters)

Revenue from this millage is available for the purpose of funding personnel, equipment, and operations of the Public Safety Department.

In 2008, residents approved a ten-year millage levy of 1 mill to support Public Safety operations. This millage has helped the City make meaningful investments in the Public Safety Department over the years.

Why are both millage renewals important?

During the Great Recession, the City’s taxable value experienced a significant decline. At the lowest point, the City’s taxable value experienced a 40% decrease compared to pre-recession values. Although property market values are beginning to rise, the State of Michigan limits the amount of annual revenue growth realized by a municipality. Therefore, when the City’s total taxable value dropped so did the amount of revenue it receives from one mill. The value of one mill has dropped significantly, from $728,000 in 2009 to $479,000 in 2018. Due to the statutory restrictions in tax revenue growth imposed by the State, the City projects that the taxable value will not return to pre-recession values until the year 2034.

The City has experienced additional revenue loss by way of State Revenue Sharing, which began decreasing in 2002 and has never returned to comparable levels.  Since 2002, the City lost over $23 million in revenue sharing from the State.

What steps have the City already taken?

While the City struggled to find new sources of revenue to make up for this loss, we are also facing other challenges. The costs associated with our long-term liabilities, including pensions and retiree healthcare are rising faster than our revenue. The City has taken many steps over the years to strategically cut costs while continuing to offer residents the amenities and services they are accustomed to. Some of the efforts the City has already taken to control costs are:

Proactively refinanced debt to lower the City’s interest rate; resulting in lower taxes for residents

Employees who receive pensions must now contribute to their retirement costs; those amounts have increased over the past several years.

Eliminated pensions to general City employees

Eliminated retiree healthcare to new employees

Continuously apply for grants to do more with less City Funding

Solicit sponsors of events and programs to offset or completely cover City costs (Public Safety Ice Cream Truck, Recreation and Library events and programs, and the Facade Improvement Program, etc.)

Reduced healthcare costs by increasing co-pays, transitioned to a self-funded healthcare system (pay-as-you-go), and future costs will be passed onto the employees

Cut General Operating Costs by reducing costs by 5% in the 2018-2019 Budget

Created an Economic Development Department to grow the City’s tax base

Partnered with neighboring communities to cut costs and realize efficiencies

Efficient project management and oversight to ensure project overruns do not happen

What does it mean for you?

These are both millage renewals. Voting yes will NOT increase your taxes.

Total mills have decreased more than 2% over the last three years, resulting in lower tax bills every year.

Before the Great Recession, during which time taxable values plummeted and before residents were paying for either of these millages, taxes were actually higher!

The average homeowner in the Oak Park School District paid $2,393 in taxes in 2008. This year the average homeowner in the Oak Park School District paid $1,898. Even if these millage renewals are passed, residents will actually see a decrease in their City taxes due to statutory millage rollbacks, putting the bill for the average homeowner to $1,846.

Have questions?

You are cordially invited to attend one of our three Town Halls

Thursday, June 28, 2018, 6 to 7 p.m.

City Hall Council Chambers

City of Oak Park

14000 Oak Park Blvd., Oak Park, MI 48237

Tuesday, July 10, 2018, 1 to 2 p.m.

City Hall Council Chambers

City of Oak Park

14000 Oak Park Blvd., Oak Park, MI 48237

Wednesday, August 1, 2018, 6 to 7 p.m.

City Hall Council Chambers

City of Oak Park

14000 Oak Park Blvd., Oak Park, MI 48237

CITY OF OAK PARK

COMMUNITY PRESS RELEASE

Produced By

Denise DeSantis, Director

Department of Community Engagement and Public Information

City of Oak Park, 14000 Oak Park Blvd., Oak Park, MI 48237

Questions or comments? Contact us at: ContactUs@OakParkMI.gov

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