Royal Oak citizens have organized as the Friends of Royal Oak Public Safety to campaign for the success of a 3.975 mill property tax on the November ballot.
After years of belt-tightening, including pay reductions by union employees and an overall workforce reduction of 25 percent, the Royal Oak City Commission voted unanimously on August 24 to seek the five-year property tax dedicated to restoring the levels of fire, police and emergency medical services.
The Friends committee, chaired by longtime civic leader Clyde Esbri, will hold a fundraising event at on Thursday, September 27 from 6:30-10 p.m. The $30 ticket includes appetizers donated by and the performance by comic Chris Porter. There will be a silent auction of items donated by local businesses. Tickets may be purchased at comedycastle.com.
The Friends will also host a town hall discussion on Wednesday, September 19 at 7 p.m. at , 506 E. 13 Mile Road in Royal Oak. City Mayor Jim Ellison will speak, joined by City Manager Don Johnson and police and fire department representatives.
Funds from the millage would accomplish the following:
- Bring the number of sworn police officers to 79, a number established in an independent study to be the minimum for effective policing in the city of 57,236. The city currently has 66 officers, down from 103 10 years ago.
- Continue to provide advanced life support emergency medical services, avoiding the possibility of a reduction to basic life support
- Offset the spring, 2013 expiration of a $2.5 million federal fire grant.
- Maintain minimum fire department on-duty staffing of 14, keep three stations open and two ambulances operating.
- Add an assistant city attorney
- Restore two code enforcement officers
“We have to keep Royal Oak relevant,” Mayor Ellison said. “Property tax revenue and state revenue sharing have plummeted. We have an obligation to protect the value of our homes and businesses and the character of our community.”
The Friends can be reached through their website, RoyalOakYesOnA.com.
Infomation provided by Friends of Royal Oak Public Safety