COLDWATER, Mi (WTVB) - In less than two weeks Branch County voters will decide the fate of a Sheriff’s Department Road Patrol millage and yesterday County Commissioners reviewed a list of questions and answers about the levy prepared by County Administrator Bud Norman. The information concerning the three-quarters of a mill five year proposal doesn’t specifically suggest what might happen if the levy fails to pass on November Sixth.
Commissioner Don Vrablic, Chairman of the Board’s Sheriff and Public Safety Committee, read the half dozen questions and answers for the record and said the millage would be used to pay for a portion of the road patrol to ensure citizen safety. He said the road patrol responds to criminal complaints and accidents within the county and it’s not simply a traffic issue and involves all of the things that deputies do on the road including investigative work.
It’s the largest single non mandated service line item in the county budget. The millage would cost about 37-dollars annually for a home assessed at a value of $100,000. The primer on the levy also asked where did the funds that were used for the road patrol in past years go. That money was pulled from a combination of the delinquent tax revolving account and the county’s rainy day fund, but according to Vrablic, they are at a level now where they can no longer dip into the tax account and the fund balance is getting to the point where they, in his words, can’t keep going to the well
Sheriff Warren Cannon earlier this fall suggested to the County Board that if the millage doesn’t pass, at least 16 of his employees could be laid off.