Letter to the Editor: Park Township Proposed Tax Increase

Editor’s Note: The following letter was submitted on Tuesday, July 27. At the time of publication on Friday, July 30 Park Township has a notice on its website regarding the millage, which reads as follows:

On Tuesday, Aug. 3, Park residents can vote on a proposed millage to raise funds for road repairs in the township. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Park Township Hall, 53640 Parkville Road. Voters who wish to request absentee ballots can visit the township hall from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 31 and Sunday, Aug. 1

The road millage seeks to raise .5 mills for four years, and will raise $72,146 for the first year. As proposed, the millage will cost township property owners 50 cents per every $1,000 of taxable value. For a property with $100,000 in taxable value, this would come to $50 per year.

The proposed millage will run from 2021-2024 and then be discontinued. During that time, 100 percent of the funds raised will be spent on road repairs in Park Township. Currently, the Township funds road repairs by taking money from its general fund, as neither St. Joseph County, the State of Michigan, nor the Federal government provides adequate and consistent funding for road maintenance. Below is the language as it appears on the ballot:

Shall Park Township impose an increase of up to .50 mills ($.50 per $1,000 of taxable value) in the tax limitation under Article IX, Section 6 of the Michigan Constitution on general or ad valorem taxes and levy it for 4 years (2021 through 2024 inclusive) for the purpose of funding improvements, which .50 will raise an estimated $72,146 in the first year that millage is levied? Yes or No. 

To the Editor:

Why is the Park Township proposed tax increase such a secret? On March 15, 2021 Park Township submitted a ballot resolution to St Joseph County which will impose a tax increase for the next 4 years to fund road improvements. It will be the only item on the ballot for St. Joseph County in the Michigan Primary on Tuesday August 3rd. 

Why haven’t the residents been informed about this? The only information I have seen is a brief reference to a road millage that was included in the Park Township newsletter with 3 other pages of information. No specifics were included. At the recent July 14th Board of Trustees Meeting, I expressed concern that Park Township residents had not been properly informed of the details in the tax millage. Supervisor Ed English agreed to put a notice on the website and in the Three Rivers Commercial. It is six days before the election, and neither of those actions have been taken. Nor have I yet received my absentee ballot.  

I believe it is extremely important that our Park Township residents be adequately informed of actions from our elected officials that will affect each and every one of us.  We deserve the information and the opportunity to make our own decision. In my opinion, I think it is unfortunate that there hasn’t been a pros and cons discussion during these past 3 months that would have helped everyone to make a more informed decision. If you want to make “ your voice” heard, vote on Tuesday, August 3rd.

Katie Sweeney
Park Township

Any views or opinions expressed in this letter are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Watershed Voice staff or its board of directors.


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