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Posted on Tue, May 3, 2011 : 11:05 p.m.

Pittsfield Township residents approve public safety millage with 72 percent of the vote

By Lisa Allmendinger

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Pittsfield police officer Matt Hornbeck of the Community Patrol Unit and Detective Jason Hohner in the parking lot outside Pittsfield Township Hall on Tuesday.

Lisa Allmendinger |

Pittsfield Township voters overwhelmingly approved a 10-year public safety millage, capturing 72 percent of the 3,693 votes cast.

“I think this is the dawn of a new phase of Pittsfield Township history,” said Township Supervisor Mandy Grewal. “I’m extremely proud that we’ll be able to continue to provide great public service and we’ll do our very best to meet the residents' expectations.”

Voters approved a renewal of 1.0 mills that was expiring next year, as well as an additional 0.95 mills by 2,653 votes to 1,040 votes, according to unofficial totals.

“This is vitally important to keep services and personnel at status quo,” said Detective Jason Hohner, who is also the union president.

He and Patrolman Matt Hornbeck of the Community Patrol Unit, spent most of Tuesday greeting voters outside Pittsfield Township Hall and asking for their support of the millage.

About 16 percent of the township’s voters turned out for the election.

The current public safety millage supports 33 full-time positions in police, fire and dispatch services and operates on a $7.9 million budget. The millage is expected to generate $3.3 million when first levied in 2012.

The 1.95-mill tax levy will cost $195 per year for the owner of a home with a taxable value of $100,000.

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Don Terry brought his St. Bernard, Wilson, along for the ride when he voted Tuesday.

Lisa Allmendinger | Ann

Don Terry, a retired Ann Arbor sergeant and current Saline police dispatcher, said “I voted ‘yes’ — these are my brothers. I live in Pittsfield Township, and now more than ever is the time to vote for police protection,” he said, adding “I’m probably more sensitive to reductions than many people.”

After 42 years in law enforcement, he said he’s very aware of the importance of having enough officers on the streets. The money is earmarked for operating expenses, equipment and training updates and perhaps some capital projects.

Pittsfield Township Public Safety Director Matt Harshberger said, “This was a great effort by everyone from fire, police and dispatch personnel to the township board and the residents. It’s the result of a lot of folks who went out in the community,” door-to-door.

Resident John Leipzig said, “It’s our responsibility. We need public safety and I support police and fire. “

Gail Monds, also a township resident, agreed: “I think we have one of the greatest police departments in the county and I don’t want to see services reduced.” In fact, she had a campaign sign in her front lawn supporting the millage.

“The voters spoke and it was pretty decisively,” Harshberger said.

Grewal said the focus remains on “retaining long-term public services. We will continue to be fiscally prudent. This is not an open checkbook.”

Lisa Allmendinger is a regional reporter for She can be reached at



Thu, May 5, 2011 : 4:54 p.m.

You must be kidding me.


Thu, May 5, 2011 : 2:19 a.m.

I hope all you "poor" people realize that your police and fire services are being subsidized by the people intelligent enough to make good money and have nice houses. (The people least likely to need these services) You're welcome. Like the 50% of Americans that pay NO Federal income taxes, live off of bridge cards, unemployment, and other forms of welfare.....enjoy leaching off the backs of those who worked hard to get where they are. Socialism works great until you run out of other people's money -Margaret Thatcher


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 3:15 p.m.

As a homeowner in Pittsfield Twp., I was concerned about how little information was provided about this up front. I follow this news site every day and was totally unaware of the millage until I chanced to see a sign in a nearby neighborhood two weeks ago. My subsequent research was unable to find any good information as to whether this was needed or not - just a plea by the township that it needs the money because property values are falling. Even though property values are down, a doubling of the old millage over 10 years is excessive. It seems that an increase of 25 basis points (instead of 95) over four years would have been more appropriate.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 5:48 p.m.

@zeeba - The millage has been discussed publicly for months and has been in the news and the township's website ever since. Along with a ton of financial data that would allow anyone to make a reasonable determination of how to vote.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 5:23 p.m.

Zeebra - I found out about it on this news site almost two months ago. I also went to the Township Website for more information and they had 4 or 5 public forums to inform us voters. I don't know what your "subsequent" research was but the information was easy to find.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 2:58 p.m.

For those individuals that are misconstruing a 'yes' vote for the public safety millage as a 'yes, I will now approve every tax increase on the ballot', what you are forgetting is that the ability for a community to vote for this type of tax is exactly what our founding fathers intended. Keep the tax money local where the people being taxed directly benefit, and they have the ability to vote on what and how the money is spent. If the Federal Government wasn't robbing us blind, communities would be more willing to pay higher local taxes.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 2:12 p.m.

Even when people are hurting financially, they are willing to pay for the basics if it makes sense to them. It's very difficult to pull the wool over the eyes of an entire community. In this case, most people trust those in charge in Pittsfield and feel they are operating honestly and efficiently. Contrast that with certain other local government officials, representing communities where millages didn't pass. It comes down to honesty and trust. It takes a long time to achieve it and a moment to lose it, and once it's gone it's nearly impossible to recover it. This is a reward to a job well done in Pittsfield.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 1:58 p.m.

How many residents are there in Pittsfield Township? Well 72% of 3,693 is only 2,657 votes. So a very small number of people are forcing a huge number to pay higher taxes. This isn't my idea of democracy. This is political manipulation by vested interests. This election should have been held in the fall and widely advertised and debated. Then and only then would a truly democratic result have been achieved. I hop voters remember this manipulation when it's time to re-elect officials.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 5:54 p.m.

@annarboral - You are wrong. don't try to claim this was some form of a subversive ballot measure. The current millage expires this year. Would you prefer the township go without a millage until the end of 2012 (and without public safety until then)??? 2011 is an off-election year, so there isn't a primary or a general election this year. In other words, voter turnout - and/or apathy - would be the same now as it would be later this year. I actually appreciate that they held the election on a date when something else would be on the ballot, or turnout could have been far lower. Also, which of the multiple public forums were you unable to attend? Each were widely advertised in this newspaper multiple times and the township's website. You can lead a horse to water, but if it isn't willing to drink...


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 5:51 p.m.

"So a very small number of people are forcing a huge number to pay higher taxes. This isn't my idea of democracy. " That's comedic gold right there. All of the remaining voters of Pittsfield township had an opportunity to vote yesterday; they chose not to. That's how democracy works. You have a vote and tally the results. Should you choose not to vote, don't bother to complain about the outcome. Should you vote and discover your side has lost a fair election, don't disparage democracy because that is what democracy is all about, choice. BTW, this election was hardly a secret. Your side was apparently too busy to take the five minutes necessary to vote yesterday. The rest is merely sour grapes.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 4:45 p.m.

There are literally people dying in other parts of the world to have the freedom to vote. Please don't blame those residents who took the time to vote. This election was adequately advertised. If residents are too lazy to pay attention to their community and to get out and exercise their right to vote, then I don't want to hear them complain later.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 3:17 p.m.

Yeah -- all the residents (except me and others in my boat) could have gone out and voted. If they didn't and they're unhappy, that's their problem. With so few people voting, it wouldn't have taken all that much effort to swing the outcome the other way.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 2:50 p.m.

And shame on the people that did not vote. It was their choice. The polls are open more then the 8 hour work day which is no different then other elections. Also they have the opportunity to vote by absentee ballots. So blame the people that did vote. Good call.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 1:57 p.m.

For all the whining these TeaPublicans do about taxes and whatnot, they certainly don't seem to care enough to do anything about it. Thanks for your passivity!


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 2:16 p.m.

I think you have a basic misunderstanding of what the Tea Party stands for. It's not no taxes; it's the minimum level of taxes necessary to preserve the basic tenets of what the state was originally designed to do. Police, fire, etc, fall within that scope.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 1:14 p.m.

Public safety is about people and equipment. The men and women who make up the Pittsfield Township Police and Fire Departments are first rate and now they will be able to continue to improve their capabilities. Congratulations to Pittsfield!


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 1:55 p.m.

Yes it is and yes they are.... but they need to keep in mind how fortunate they are with this type of community support.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 12:16 p.m.

I expect Pittsfield to use the money properly and be frugal. This is costing us homeowners dearly and we expect 0 base budgeting. Prove where you are spending the money BEFORE appropriation - not justify after.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 12:54 p.m.

Of course, you voted "yes", right? Good Night and Good Luck


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 11:44 a.m.

Good work guys! Pittsfield has a well trained department. The millage passing, along with Matt Harshberger now being in charge, makes Pittsfield look extremely attractive.

Paula Gardner

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 11:28 a.m.

The headline and story have been changed to reflect that 72 percent of the voters approved the millage - and that the margin of approval was not 72 percent, as trespass and tmo point out in their comments.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 10:52 a.m.

I read that headline too and said 'Yikes, even intuition tells you that this incorrect!' Is there no review at all?


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 10:45 a.m.

Bad headline writing! A 72% to 28% win is a 54% margin not a 72% margin.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 10:13 a.m.

While I believe the work of our public safety officials is vital to our community, and the schools are valuable too, in these hard economic times government (including education) should watch their spending as well. All that land that was purchased when times were good, well if money is tight, sell some. Look more closely at small pet projects (how much does that "Pittsfield Passport" cost--get rid of it--wasteful). The Parks and Rec dept is nice, but not a luxury--trim some there. As a homeowner, if my income goes down, I cannot ask my boss for a raise, just because I maxed out my credit cards when times were good. I find places to cut spending. Governments on all levels need to do this. Increased taxes are just going to mean there may be more people who cannot pay them, forcing more foreclosures, and may actually lead to decreased revenue for the township.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 10:11 a.m.

will this mean we will see more traffic stops----perish the thought---

Basic Bob

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 9:59 a.m.

Raises for everybody! And more paid holidays! And money to bulldoze trees on Textile Road. This was not about public safety. This was just a way to free up money in the general fund so the gravy train can stay on track! @subaru99, If you do some research, you will find that the "clearly erroneous" claims you speak of were factual, unlike the full-color glossy half-truths that are published at taxpayer expense. (Pittsfield Post)


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 5:58 p.m.

Your consistent opinion favoring the previous township board is duly noted. My, you mean you couldn't detect any hint of politics in the Lirones letter? Seriously now.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 4:57 p.m.

Yes, Mister Chief Justice. We don't like people who make it up. Good Night and Good Luck

Basic Bob

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 3:54 p.m.

Thanks for the attacks, but I am not who you suggest. I am not a republican, a tea party member, a judge, or a former township official, and I am not related to any of them. Nor do I know them personally. Regardless, I have touched a nerve among the sheeple.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 2:54 p.m.

Maybe they are freeing up money from the general fund to pay the debt on the parkland that the previous board (that got soundly defeated by the way) racked up. Also paid way more then market value for the property that nicely surrounds a former board members home. But you probably know that Basic Bob aka Tina

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 11:21 a.m.

Typical TeapubliKan tactic. What would you do, Mr. Chief Justice, if someone came before the bench and misrepresented their case the way you do here? Good Night and Good Luck


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 7:17 a.m.

What the government is hearing from the public on all these millage approvals is, we don't mind paying more taxes. Oh well. I hope the money isn't wasted.

Steve Sommers

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 4:05 a.m.

Thank god Pittsfield residents saw how important this was! Lets all hope that the Big City to the west keeps their hands off our public safetly people. Pittsfield obviously cares about public safety and we do not need to be subsidizing any one elses police and especially fire departments. I dont mind if we help them out now and then, but all I read about on here is how they need to combine and rely on mutual aid. I did not vote for this to keep other towns safe.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 4:04 a.m.

the voters in PT showed good sense passing this measure.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 3:33 a.m.

Well that's good news. I would have supported it, except that I wasn't eligible to vote.