Traverse City Record-Eagle

October 17, 2013

Senate votes to let cities tax for police, fire

Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — LANSING — The state Senate has voted to let hundreds more Michigan cities levy a special assessment to fund police and fire departments.

Michigan now lets townships, small cities and just one larger city — Saginaw — defray the cost of police and fire through special taxes on residents and businesses.

Cities with at least 15,000 residents could levy police and fire taxes if voters sign off under legislation unanimously approved by the Senate Wednesday and headed to the House. Cities with fewer than 15,000 residents already have been able to assess the taxes with a vote of elected officials.

The bill could affect nearly 280 cities. The bill’s sponsor, Democratic Sen. Steve Bieda (BEE-da) of Warren, says it gives another tool to cities grappling with declining tax bases.