EASTPOINTE, Mich. – Voters in Eastpointe and Hazel Park approved an emergency services millage request Tuesday that will provide funding to maintain fire department and police department manpower at current levels for the next two decades, city officials said.
The 14 mill request was approved in a 2,218-1,252 vote in both communities. City officials said it is part of a funding partnership between the two cities known as the South Macomb Oakland Regional Services Authority.
Eastpointe voters approved the request on a 1,602-1,025 vote while Hazel Park voters approved the request on a 616-227 vote, officials said.
The emergency services millage request will become effective with the summer 2015 tax bills at an average cost of $347 per Eastpointe household. City officials said the millage will raise an estimated $5.8 million annually for Eastpointe and will allow the city to avoid layoffs and a budget deficit beginning in 2016.
"While I can never proclaim that property owners paying more taxes is a good thing, a very important and necessary historical decision was made in Eastpointe today," said city manager Steve Duchane. "Our residents used the democratic process to support our local police and fire response system, which have been the core services of government since colonial times."
The funding will allow Eastpointe to replace emergency equipment as needed and examine ways to increase fire and police personnel when possible, city officials said.
"Given nothing but funding obstacles from the state government miles away in Lansing, this city, its elected officials, first responders and, most importantly our voters, said, 'We have this,' by reinvesting in our community," said Duchane. "Our team is committed to providing a safe city, efficient government, great neighborhoods and a healthy local economy in a place that is Eastpointe."
Voters in Eastpointe also elected current Councilman Cardi DeMonaco Jr. to fill the term on council created by the death of former Mayor Pro Tem Bill Sweeney, city officials said. DeMonaco Jr.'s term expires in 2017.