By Ken DeLaat
The Newaygo County Board of Commissioner Finance Committee decided this past Wednesday at their regular meeting to move forward a request from the Sheriff’s Department for the Newaygo County Board of Commissioners to place a .5 mill Public Safety Millage on the August 7, 2018 ballot. The action places the resolution on the agenda for next week's full board meeting.
The issue sparked a lengthy debate among committee members who weighed the request with a budget impact memo written by Administrator Chris Wren citing the possible financial impact of the action.
Commissioner Chris Ortwein was vocal in his opposition stating that while he supports law enforcement and other emergency services he feels the community is already overtaxed and is personally resistant to placing more tax burden on the citizens.
Commissioner Brian Kolk pointed out that the current millage to fund the Sheriff’s
Department is 30 years old and while it guarantees staffing at the 1987 level the demand for services has increased dramatically since then.
Commissioner Jim Maike expressed some concerns but stated he felt the matter should be sent to the whole board to allow the matter to be discussed further.
Other commissioners offered input as well.
The roll call vote saw 'yes' votes from Finance Chair Phil Deur, Commissioners Chuck Trapp, Maike and Kolk with Commissioner Ortwein casting the lone vote against.
The resolution will be taken up at the next Board of Commissioners meeting on Wednesday April 25th at 9:30 am. Commissioner Deur encouraged board members to meet with their constituents to gauge their opinions on the matter.
BOC Meetings are held at the Commission Meeting Room located in the County Administration building in White Cloud.