Political Column - A Local Millage Vote

Promoting the idea that votes matter is popular, especially for politicians that are attempting to round up supporters to vote for them. The reality is that sometimes it's true and sometimes it's not.

Is your one vote going to change who becomes President of the United States? No. But, as you get more local your vote matters more. There are times in local elections when a single vote decides the outcome. For instance, in Holton Township in 2020 there was a tie for a trustee position. Literally, a single person that decided to not vote that day could have determined who was going to hold an elected office for the next four years. Instead, a name was pulled out of a hat to determine the winner.

Many people pay more attention to national politics because it provides more entertainment value. In ancient Rome a formula was found for keeping the population in control: comfort and distraction. In Latin the saying is "panem et circenses," which translates to "bread and circuses." In the US, high level politics has itself become entertainment. A circus that we can't effect even though it affects us, all we can do is watch the drama, comedy, and tragedy unfold.

All the while decisions are being made in our villages, townships, cities, and counties. Places where we can make an impact. Places where our vote can make a difference. Places where there's less entertainment, but more meaning.

I disagree with a massive amount of how our system works. But, it's important to appreciate the large amount of peace, prosperity, and liberty that our system has produced. And, the idea of having people vote on whether or not they would like to increase their own property taxes to add full time firefighters in Dalton Township seems good to me. It's a choice, and there are consequences along either path that is chosen.

Does Dalton have a need for full time firefighters? Yes. We broke 1,000 calls in a year for the first time in 2021. In 2022 the fire chief covered 140 extra shifts that weren't otherwise filled, that's in addition to regularly scheduled shifts. The number of calls goes up and down, but it seems unreasonable to expect the call volume to go down over the long term or to drop medical calls to reduce the volume.

The fire department operating millage vote is on August 8th. A fire equipment millage was voted on in 2017, but the fire operating millage hasn't been voted on since 2005. There are two questions. One is to renew what the fire department is currently getting. The other vote is for an increase of .85 mills. That means 85 cents for every 1,000 dollars of taxable value on your property. For instance, if someone recently bought a house for 200,000 dollars their bill would increase by 85 dollars per year.

Those are the two decisions to be made in the August 8th election. Yes or no to the fire department renewal and increase. It's a bit of a fool's game to predict votes, but I wouldn't be surprised if the vote is a pretty close call. One of those local elections where a small group of voters can make a difference.

There is always more to the story of course. If you want to reach out my direct line at the office is 231-332-6700 and my email is supervisor@daltontownship.org



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