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      Mt. Morris Twp. police and fire millages pass


      Voters in Mt. Morris Township approved two millage increase requests to fund police and fire services. The police millage passed with 69 percent of the vote. The fire millage passed with 70 percent of the vote.

      ***End update***

      Mount Morris Township public safety departments are now calling on residents for help.

      Community members want public safety maintained, but for people on a fixed income, it's hard to find the extra cash.

      Bob Davidek is retired. He and his wife depend on a fixed income, carefully spending every dime.

      "Everything is going up in cost but our income and investments are pretty much level," said Davidek.

      Now confronted with a tax increase of 3 mills for police and 1.5 mills for fire, the Davidek's are torn.

      "Police, firemen have a very dangerous work. They need their jobs. It's a two-edged sword," said Bob Davidek.

      Mt. Morris Township public safety officials understand the dilemma.

      "You have to do what's best for your family. I understand this is tough," said Mt. Morris Twp Police Chief, Scott McKenna.

      Tough times for first responders as well.

      Over the course of four years, tax-based funding for public safety in Mount Morris Township has declined by $800,000.

      Without a tax increase, the police force may be forced to eliminate seven positions.

      "We're not trying to buy a bunch of things we're trying to exist," said Chief McKenna.

      Chief McKenna fears a decrease in staffing would have an effect on serving the public.

      "We focus on being proactive. We lose those officers, we're going to become reactive and once that happens the bad guys, criminals on the streets know the areas that have officers," said McKenna.

      Some residents think the tax increase is a good thing.

      "Honestly, I think if it's necessary to raise taxes to keep up police then we as a community need to do what we need to do to keep each other safe," said Mt. Morris Twp resident, Rahjon Southall.

      But safety for residents is coming at a cost.

      The average home in Mt. Morris Twp has a taxable value of $30,000.

      The total 4.5 public safety millage increase would mean an added $135 for for the average homeowner.

      Polls open Tuesday morning at 7a.m. and close at 8p.m.

      Millage proposals are also on the ballot in Atlas Township and several school districts including Beecher, Carman Ainsworth and New Lothrop.