Township to host forums on public safety SAD

May 10, 2019

Bloomfield Township will hold a series of public forums to answer questions from the public about the proposed Public Safety Special Assessment District (SAD) that will go before voters during the August 6 election this summer.

 

The forums are intended to allow the public to learn about the proposed SAD and what impact it would have on the community. Residents are encouraged to attend one of six forums, which will be hosted by Bloomfield Township Supervisor Leo Savoie.

 

Two forums are scheduled at the Bloomfield Township Senior Center, 4315 Andover, including one on Thursday, May 16, at 3 p.m.; and one on Monday, June 17, at 9:30 a.m. Four forums are scheduled at the Bloomfield Township auditorium, including those on Wednesday, May 29, at 3 p.m.; Thursday, June 27, at 7 p.m.; Wednesday, July 10, at 3 p.m.; and Wednesday, July 31, at 7 p.m.

 

The discussion will cover the proposed 2.3-mill tax that is intended to help fund retiree benefits over the next 15 years through the creation of an SAD dedicated to public safety operations. Billed as a public safety tax, the SAD would ultimately shore up unfunded liabilities in the township's Other Post-Employee Benefits (OPEB) trust fund related to retiree costs, such as medical, dental and life insurance costs. 

 

If approved, the SAD would provide about $9 million a year to police and fire operations. The township also would be required to let an existing 10-year millage approved in 2010 expire at the end of 2019, thus eliminating about $4.85 million in current tax revenues. The measure would provide an overall increase of 1.05 mills to public safety, decreasing the township's general fund contribution to police and fire by $1.9 million each year. 

 

The proposal is in response to a 2018 Michigan law intended to ensure local retiree health care and pension plans be adequately funded. Under the new law, the township must ensure at least 40 percent of the OPEB trust is funded within 30 years. Previously, local municipalities were permitted to fund OPEB costs as they came due. With about $164 million in unfunded OPEB liabilities, the township must develop a plan to fill a $65 million gap over the next three decades.

 

Savoie will discuss the law that changed the funding requirement, as well as cost cutting moves implemented by the township in recent years; how much taxpayers will pay if the SAD is approved; the impact if it passes or fails; and other related issues.

 

The meetings will be open forums of questions and answers.

 

Additional information, including a tax estimation calculator is available at the township's website at bloomfieldtwp.org under “August Election Facts.”

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