BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. – After a crushing loss at the polls, the Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees got an earful from residents.
Five of the seven members of the Board of Trustees supported a $2.3 million tax hike to help fund the township’s whopping $164 million structural deficit. A grassroots campaign mobilized and defeated it soundly with more than 60 percent of the vote.
People were angry and they told the board their behavior was not appreciated.
“There were a lot of scare tactics, a lot of doom and gloom,” resident Mary Alice LeDuc said. “The comment that 10 police officers and firefighters would be cut was repeatedly used, yet we know from speaking to the trustees that was uniformly dismissed.”
Some people had an issue with how they perceived some of the board members behaved.
“People just asked questions and just got shouted down. Don’t do that again, just don’t,” Steven Lewis said.
Not all the trustees supported the millage. Two, David Buckley and Dani Walsh, think the township needs to sharpen its pencil, something the rest of the board heard from residents. Among the suggestions: Employees need to pick up 20 percent of their health care premiums, some services should be outsourced, 401(a) retirement contributions (currently the township contributes 10-14 percent)should be reduced and perks, such as vehicles for township officials, should be ended.
Buckley thinks it’s time to bring in a professional manager for the township to handle the financial turnaround. The board unanimously voted to hold a study session on the possibility.