Eaton County’s Delta Township seeks pair of taxes for police and fire department

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DELTA TWP. — Township voters to decide on two tax proposals in Novemberr which, if both are approved, would generate approximately $34 million over the next 10 years for public safety.

The first proposal is a 10-year millennial tax that would generate $1.7 million per year to help fund police, fire and public safety operating expenses.

The second, another 1 million tax over 10 years, would generate $1.7 million per year for the construction of a new sheriff’s substation building. Both taxes would be levied from 2023 to 2032.

The Delta Township Board of Directors voted at their meeting on Monday to put both measures on the November 8 ballot.

Here’s what residents need to know about the two proposed taxes:

What would a “public safety” tax pay?

The first tax proposal, called a “public safety mile” in the townships’ online records, would help pay for police, fire and public safety operating expenses.

The township pays Eaton County to provide these services under a contract that has been in place since 1970, Delta Township Manager Brian Reed said.

The women's locker room in the Eaton County Sheriff's Office substation in Delta Township, seen Thursday, August 11, 2022.

Currently, services are paid for out of the township’s general fund. The patrol staff assigned by Eaton County consists of 33 employees, including a lieutenant, four sergeants, four detectives and 21 deputies.

Delta Township operates its own fire department, Reed said.

Civil Servants: Rising Costs Driven Tax Proposal

Reed said the proposed tax would generate $1.7 million a year to help cover expenses, which have been rising.

In a memo to the board, Reed and Delta Township’s chief financial officer, Courtney Nicholls, said “the major cost drivers are employee benefits, primarily retirement costs through the (City Employees Retirement System) )”.

“The Township has tried to manage these costs, last eliminating two positions from its sheriff’s contract in 2018, which has helped control some escalation, however, over the past two years the contract has seen increases considerable,” according to the memo.

In the 2021-22 budget year, the township paid just over $3.7 million for the county’s Delta Patrol, according to township records. For the 2022-23 budget year, the township will pay just over $4 million.

Needs at the post of the municipality

The Eaton County Sheriff’s Office substation for its Delta Township Patrol, located at 7736 Administration Road, was built in 1982.

The building serves as the base of operations for the patrol, which serves the township’s approximately 33,000 residents.

Township officials have been discussing the need to rebuild it since 2006, Reed said, but plans were scrapped during the ensuing recession a few years later.

In 2019, a facility survey indicated that the 7,100-square-foot building was “functionally outdated and so in need of work that reconstruction would be best considered,” Reed said.

A locker room in the Eaton County Sheriff's Office substation in Delta Township, seen Thursday, August 11, 2022.

The building is cramped, its mechanical, plumbing, electrical and technological systems are in poor condition, and there are significant roof and site drainage issues, he said.

What would a new tax do?

Township officials hope to demolish the existing substation and build a new one on the same site, Reed said. The project is expected to cost around $15 million.

The proposed building would be more than double the size of the current facility, at 16,400 square feet.

It would include interview rooms, an appropriately sized and equipped locker room, a team room and workspaces for MPs, including appropriate facilities for female MPs, Reed said.

An evidence receiving room at the Eaton County Sheriff's Office substation in Delta Township, seen Thursday, August 11, 2022.

Without passage of the proposed tax, he said, officials will not have the funds for the project.

An equipment garage at the Eaton County Sheriff's Office substation in Delta Township, seen Thursday, August 11, 2022.

The township received $3.4 million from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, Reed said. More than $1 million was spent on equipment for firefighters, including a fire truck, two ambulances and the partial replacement of an aerial device.

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What will the two proposals cost owners?

One of two interrogation rooms at the Eaton County Sheriff's Office substation in Delta Township, seen Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022.

Since both taxes would be set at $1 million, they would each cost the owner of a home with a taxable value of $75,000 about $75 per year. Each would cost the owner of a home with a assessed value of $150,000 about $150 per year. If both pass, the cost is doubled.

Contact Rachel Greco at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @GrecoatLSJ.

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