After months of discussions and talks of petitions, it was decided that Gaines Township residents will vote on a referendum for police funding.
The Gaines Township Board of Trustees recently approved putting the question on the Nov. 5 ballot.
Supervisor Paul Fortino said they haven’t decided yet on the ballot question wording but he expects they will start discussions soon.
In March, the Gaines Township Board of Trustees voted to direct Fortino to create a tax roll and calculate the assessment for each improved parcel.
The Board of Trustees planned to create a 10-year assessment and charge each improved parcel $115 a year to pay for police services. This would cost each assessed property approximately 32 cents a day.
However, this move was opposed by residents. In April, residents submitted a petition to the board with enough signatures to stop a board-proposed assessment to pay for police.
When asked if the police department is funded through this year, Fortino said, “Toward the end of the year, we’re going to have to cut back hours, I presume. It’ll depend on the vote.”
Five years ago, Gaines Township passed a 0.5-mill tax to pay for police, which recently ended. This brought in approximately $85,000 to $90,000 a year and wasn’t high enough to pay for police, Fortino said. The township dipped into the general fund to make up the difference. The department has grown and the general fund cannot completely support it.