Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee proposes tax increase to support more officers

Detroit police chief, police commissioner propose higher taxes to help increase amount of officers on streets

By Rod Meloni - Reporter, CFP ®


Call 911 and Detroit police may or may not show.

Detroit residents such as 84-year-old retired school teacher I.V. Barrett are tired of the spotty-at-best service accompanying Michigan's highest tax rates.

"I will pay my fair share, but I think I've overpaid," said Barrett.

Knowing he is swimming upstream, Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee went before Detroit City Council on Tuesday, passionately making the case that the city needs more police officers.

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Raising taxes, in Godbee's estimation, seems to be the best option. He used a war analogy: Funding a surge of Detroit's finest on Detroit city streets.

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"We don't want it to get any worse," the chief said. "We're holding our own but I think the citizens deserve more than just holding our own."

Residents of Detroit already pay 65 mills. That's $650 a year on the average $10,000 home, or $6,500 for a $100,000 home. Detroit businesses pay even more.

Godbee wants to tack on nine more mills, or $160 per Detroit property owner. He is looking to raise $56 million each year for the next five years.

Detroit landlord Gary Roquemore would end up paying $1,000 more each year on the six properties he owns.

"We have to buckle down and bite the bullet, basically," Roquemore said. "If we do not do that, it's going to be a problem in the long run because the city will continually deteriorate."

City Council is not yet sold on the request to put the proposal on the November ballot. The Council scheduled a meeting with Godbee next week.

Read more: Just what Detroit needs

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