The following information was submitted in a press release.
For the fifth consecutive year, the Shelby Township Board of Trustees will vote on Sept. 17 to keep local tax rates the same at 9.2999 mills, with 2.4062 dedicated to the general fund, 1 mill to the police and fire pension fund, 3.2575 to the Fire Department operating fund and 2.6362 to the police operating fund.
“Even though we’re looking at another year with a forecasted decline in revenues, we have made a promise to the taxpayers that we will not pass our financial hardships on to them,” Township Supervisor Rick Stathakis said, noting that the Township’s general fund has actually seen $4.5 million in surpluses since 2008 because of conservative reforms.
“Our commitment to make do with the resources we have has been paramount to everything the conservative majority of our Board has accomplished since November of 2008,” Stathakis added. “And it is the top reason why our Township has weathered the state’s economic storm better than most communities.”
Despite the freeze in tax rates and a drop in overall revenue, which is forecasted to fall further in 2014, Township services such as Police, Fire, and Parks and Recreation have not suffered and have even been enhanced with features like the new Chief Gene Shepherd Park, located on 23 Mile Road.
“This conservative Board has done what most politicians would tell you is impossible by actually doing more with fewer dollars and people,” Township Treasurer Michael Flynn said, noting the enrichment of the Parks, Recreation and Maintenance Department despite a rollback of five staff members since 2008.
Those enrichments came during a time period when statewide property values dropped roughly $260 million, which reduced tax revenues at every level of government. Many communities chose to raise tax rates to compensate for those declines in property values, but Shelby Township stayed true to its tax “promise.”
“We knew that, with property values shrinking, it meant our bottom line would shrink, but it also meant that our residents were facing hard times, too,” Stathakis said. “That is why it was more important than ever to make do with what we had and not ask taxpayers for a penny more.”
Township officials reaffirmed that, despite a financial crisis within the Police Department stemming from continued declines in revenue and growing expenditures because of rising retiree pension and healthcare costs, they will face such hardships with the resources and finances available.
“People need to know that taxes are real money from real people,” Trustee Paul Viar said. “And that means we will not be spending more of the people of Shelby Township’s money to solve problems created by past government officials.”
The total 9.2999 mills tax rate costs taxpayers owning $100,000 homes, which have a taxable value of $50,000, $464.99 per year, with $120.31 going to the general fund, $50 to the police and fire pension fund, $162.88 to the Fire Department and $131.81 to the Police Department.