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Pontiac Considers Tax Hike, Budget Cuts

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PONTIAC (WWJ) -  Pontiac’s fiscal crisis is worsening, to the point where a tax hike and further budget cuts for police are fire are imminent.

The city’s Emergency Financial Manager Michael Stampfler blames a 20 percent reduction in property values, along with losses in state revenue money, tax revenues and population losses for this latest fiscal drama, which he said will empty the city’s coffers by November.

“We will extend the date to the city running out of money in April of next year. By accomplishing these other goals, action steps, we’ll be able to make it through the year. But, it depends on how successful we are in implementing these other steps,” Stampfler said

Pontiac Mayor Leon Jukowski and city council members at Thursday morning’s meeting were critical of Stampfler’s handling of property inspections and other sources of revenue. But Stampfler said he open to all ideas.

“Following the issue of Oakland County saying we’ve lost our revenue, we must re-open. And that’s provided for under law and that’s what we’re doing,” Jukowski said.

“If you went to the budget conference in Oakland County, that’s been predicted for months before hand. This didn’t just come up,” Stampfler responded.

Jukowski claims more can be done to save money in fire protection, while Stampfler said significant cutbacks are coming to the fire department.

Stampfler has proposed $15 million in combined tax hikes and budget cuts to get the city’s finances back in order.

The tax hikes would cost the average home owner an extra $400 a year. That would also come at the expense of 10 public safety positions, those of Oakland County Sheriff Deputies who just recently took over the patrol duties of the city.

The city’s options are limited, as the state won’t allow the city to file bankruptcy, and Oakland County has already said no to a possible merger with surrounding communities.

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