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Wayne County Commissioners Debate Proposed Public Safety Millage

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DETROIT (WWJ) - Wayne County residents may soon be asked if they are willing to pay higher taxes come election time in November.

County commissioners have been debating whether to put a .97 public safety millage request, proposed by Commissioner Kevin McNamara, on the November 6 ballot.

The millage is meant to maintain spending levels at the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department, prosecutor’s office and family services department. Commissioner Tim Killeen said he’s uncomfortable asking voters for more money at this time.

“There’s a lot of unanswered questions,” Killeen said. “I’m not prepared to put it on the ballot for two reasons: I don’t think there’s been enough due diligence that’s been done on this yet, and secondly, I don’t think we’ve done everything we can in our current budgets and our budgets from the past three or four years to get our fiscal house in order.”

On the other side of the argument is Commissioner Alisha Bell, who said the current scandal surrounding the County executives administration shouldn’t deter residents from voting in favor of the millage.

“The county as a whole is under dire straits because this is not necessarily going to go to the executive,” Bell said. “This would be helping to find the prosecutors’ office, the sheriffs’ office, and our community-based program for children,” she said.

Bell said the millage would only improve current financial state of the county and keep key programs alive.

“Unfortunately, with the decline of property taxes and the decline in population we are at a crossroads financially when it comes to supporting all the ideas and the programs and services that we need to support for the county, especially public safety,” she said.

Commissioners have until August 28th to decide if the millage proposal will be included on the November ballot.

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