Resident group calls for, receives tax levy on ballot

Voters in Pierce Township will have a chance to either support or defeat a 2.9 mill police levy that has been approved by the trustees for inclusion in the May 8 special election.

The levy is the direct response by the township to an expected budget deficit in the police department that could lead to a massive disruption to the service. The levy was requested by a citizen’s group called “Keep Police Presence in Pierce,” who called for aid for the department which has survived on a flat budget for over 10 years.

“First off, we’re in desperate need of additional officers,” said Col. Jim Smith, Pierce Township Police Chief. “This has been documented, and we’ve obtained a grant from the federal government to hire three additional officers. We’re receiving $225,000, but if the levy fails, we won’t be able to hire the officers and the township will lose that $225,000. That means that, if we go to hire those officers later, the township residents will have to pay that full amount.”

Since the police department was formed, the township has experienced explosive growth, which with population increase, has brought an increase in crime. Col. Smith said that the population growth has hurt the department’s funding through the millage process, which sets a taxation rate, but caps the amount of money reaped from that taxation.