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Save money by going with Sheriff department

POST SRIPTS: The Cedar Springs Post welcomes letters of up to 350 words. The subject should be relevant to local readers, and the editor reserves the right to reject letters or edit for clarity, length, good taste, accuracy, and liability concerns. All submissions MUST be accompanied by full name, mailing address and daytime phone number. We use this information to verify the letter’s authenticity. We do not print anonymous letters, or acknowledge letters we do not use. Email to news@cedarspringspost.com, or send to PostScripts, Cedar Springs Post, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.

 

I am typically that person that doesn’t go to steps like writing a letter to my local newspaper but enough is enough. I recently attended a public meeting regarding the City entertaining the idea of contracting our police services to the Kent County Sherriff’s Department vs. maintaining a local police department.

I must admit that I agree with councilman Jerry Hall that it was a disappointing turnout, who I know is angered by the amount of tax dollars we pay, with barely over 30 residents attending.

In a July 13 Grand Rapids Press article it stated Walker has the lowest city tax in Kent, Ottawa Counties that was shared by a private citizen. It listed property tax based on a $150,000.00 house (summer tax bills).

 Walker – $666.20

Kentwood – $786.50

Ferrysburg – $802.98

Zeeland – $835.16

Grandville – $838.50

Hudsonville – $842.27

Rockford – $883.50

Wyoming – $959.05

Coopersville – $1,057.30

Grand Haven – $1,077.00

East GR – $1,137.68

Cedar Springs – $1,224.10

Holland – $1,253.80

Lowell – $1,261.29

Grand Rapids – $1,436.39

*Walker and Grand Rapids levy property and income tax.

Something is seriously wrong with the City of Cedar Springs having these high taxes!

I have been a Cedar Springs resident for over 30 years. We have three teenage daughters and purchased a home in the city limits in 2013. I received my summer tax bill and almost needed our community rescue squad to come and save me. We purchased our home, which was built in 1969, for $99,900.00 and my summer tax bill exceeded $1,800.00.

The downtowns of Rockford, Grandville, East Grand Rapids compared to ours? We pay more taxes than those communities and my question remains, for what? Our roads are full of potholes, roads not plowed well in the winter, sidewalks are in terrible condition and overall our downtown looks shabby at best, especially considering the large amount of tax dollars that are pouring into city hall.

I attended a city council meeting a while back where Councilmember Patty Troost stated that there were over 80 foreclosures in the City of Cedar Springs. No kidding Patty, who can afford to live here?

Patty Troost also tried to calculate savings at the informational meeting, stating it was roughly only $5.35 savings per person. This was proven incorrect by the City Treasurer.

Kent County Sheriff and his team did a great presentation. The City can design the program as they see fit. Any savings to a town that is only 2 square miles and has a tax bill like ours, let me say emphatically, City Council it’s time to partner with the Sheriff’s department and save money!

Simple mathematics shows the potential savings by going with the Sherriff’s department is at a minimum $120,000.00. Over the next 10 years that is over $1 million dollars in savings!

So I ask again, where is the question?

Laurie Nozal, 

Cedar Springs

 

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One Response to “Save money by going with Sheriff department”

  1. Patricia says:

    I received a call from a good friend of mine and after she read me your above post, she asked me “when are you going to start fighting back? Because you know that they are only going to continue to bully you as long as you continue to let them!” So Laurie, I want to thank you, because of your inaccurate remarks and only stating half of the story, as many have done for so long, I have now felt the urge to say enough is enough!
    So first, by the sounds of it, I am not sure why you are angry with the City of Cedar Springs because you didn’t do your homework before you purchased your home, and/or your relator didn’t do her job in outlining the millage rate for the City of Cedar Springs and explained to you what the current State Equalized Value of the home you were looking at purchasing and what all that meant in costs for you before you signed the dotted line.
    It also seems that you are aware that Cedar Springs collects the majority of their property taxes in the summer, which most if not all of these other cities you have listed break up their collection in both winter and summer. Winter taxes for most home owners in Cedar Springs are less than $100.00, yours should be around $65.00.
    I think it you really look at your recent property tax bill you may be able to see most of the taxes collected are not kept by the City of Cedar Springs, as the schools takes a pretty hefty sum. The actual funds of the $1,800.00 that you pay, I am thinking maybe around $650.00 or less stay here.
    Out of the $650.00, the City uses those collected funds to pay for fire, police, water, sewer, snow removal, salt, water/pumps, water treatment plant, park maintenance etc. too much to list here, but the city runs 24 hours a day 7 days a week 365 days a year. But when we have rough winters like we did this past year caused increase in unforeseeable costs, pipes break, asphalt expands, potholes, roofs cracks, gear, equipment malfunctions, uniforms and there are increasing attorney bills due to threats of infringement lawsuits, cease & desist letters, frivolously matters continuingly being filed, well those funds need to come from some place and boy they add up. Moreover, we will still be paying for police if we outsource with the Kent County Sheriff.
    As far as the foreclosure and figures, if you are going to quote me, please be accurate, I know this was back in November of 2013, (and any good realtor should be able to check this out for you), but what I actually stated was at that time there were currently 92 homes for sale in Cedar Springs and out of those 92 homes, 60 of them were due to a foreclosure.
    Furthermore, people normally lose their homes to foreclosure due to an economic impact, such as a loss of employment, health/medical issues, divorce, death, etc…, and it is far less unlikely for non-payment of property taxes, I’m saying that doesn’t happen, but not the norm. I also am not sure if you are aware, but our Country recently went through a recession and are still trying to recover from same. Due to said recession this caused a huge slowdown in our overall economic activity – which has had a snowball effect which is why we are here asking these questions of keeping our Police Department in tact or Outsource/Partnering with the Kent County Sheriff’s Department.
    It may also be beneficial for you to review the footage from Tuesdays Town Hall Meeting, where I ask the question, to our Finance Director, Deb Brunett, and I quote “ Deb, I don’t mean to put you on the spot and if I did my calculation correctly on a house valued at around $120,000 with the current proposed savings would be around $5.35 a month for each home owner?”; and Laurie you are correct where our City Manager Thad Taylor & Deb did correct me and Deb believed it was more around $12.00. As there are different millage rates within our overall millage and when I was reviewing my notes, I had prepare for this meeting, I believed I had calculated them wrong and during the meeting I had pulled out my calculator and recalculated and realized I may have done just that, and then I asked my question. But I believe the tape will show that. I am not sure who else I should have asked that question to or when, as by your remarks I get the feeling that you don’t understand the role of Council and in particular this meeting, it was a question and answer session. But I am just glad that our City Manager and Finance Director were both there to walk me as well and the public through it.
    But for the record and for your knowledge, this is how our meetings work, we ask questions and if I’m wrong and don’t know, it is okay, I am always up for learning something new and I am sorry that you feel I should have all the answers, because I don’t, but I will do what I can to try and find the answers, I can promise you that as I believe that my job as a Council member is to prepare for the meetings, review the packet/information I am given and come to all of the meetings informed, prepared with any questions I may have and be ready to have frank and open dialogue with my fellow council members, department heads and the City Manager and hopefully get the answers I need before I make an informed decision on the things I vote on and I believe I do that for each and every meeting.
    I do want to state that I am very appreciative of all the time and hard work that Sheriff Stelma and his colleagues did in preparing the proposed proposal and to come out and answer all of these hard question on two separate occasions speaks volumes and I think they would appreciate it if council would make an informed decision and if decided to narrow down what we actually want. This is as important to them as to us.
    Finally, just in case you don’t remember, it took a separate committee, several meetings with attorneys and 15 months, before Council decided on a new logo and tagline, so I apologize if we take a few days to decide on keeping or wiping out our police department which is not just about numbers it is also about public safety! We owe this to our police department as well as to the Kent County Sheriff’s Department as no matter which way we go, we have to make sure we are all on the same page and we are doing what is best for all parties involved.

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