Burton police make millage vote personal

<p>Police say they have to take action because without a millage yes in November they will keep lose officers while their arrests continue to increase.</p>

Burton police are calling it one of the most important issues on this Novemberâ??s ballot. Itâ??s so important that they are knocking on doors educating the community with their brochures about the importance of this Novemberâ??s public safety millage.

"The future of the Burton Police Department hangs on this millage," said Burton Police Chief Thomas Osterholzer.

6.5 mills are being requested to generate more than three million dollars annually for the Burton Police Department.

"A twenty year millage allows long term stability for the citizens, for the city until we get back to where we need to be," said Chief Osterholzer.

So the department is paying voting households a visit. In 2007 Burton PD had 42 sworn officers, today they have 29 and are facing more cuts without the tax increase.

"And that's going to just erode the police departmentâ??s ability to protect the city," said David Roach from Citizens for a Safe Burton.

Roach is doing what he can to ensure a yes vote in November. Which would add seven officers bringing the city's force up to 36.

"Coming out after just getting off third shift or getting off second shift and coming out and spending their personal time away from their families because they know how important this is. It makes me feel good as a citizen," said Roach.

Millage approval will eliminate the departments 70 percent usage of general funds allowing the city to inherit more money for things like road improvement and paying city retirees.

"Once this legacy cost is paid down that in itself frees up money and allows you to grow," said Chief Osterholzer.

Burton police say this is complex twenty year millage but they say bottom line even if property values were to double over night they can only increase taxes by 5 percent or at the rate of inflation, whichever is less per year.

Police are tallying residents for and against the tax increase. For now most residents want to see patrols go up.

Burton police are urging residents to attend town call meetings to learn more and make an educated vote this November.

October 8, 2013 7:00-9:00 pm at Bendle High School cafeteria

October 15, 2013 7:00-9:00 pm at Atherton High School cafeteria

October 22, 2013 7:00-9:00 pm at Bentley High School media center