Ferndale Mayor Dave Coulter
"The huge shortfall in our budget is mainly the result of the housing market, which has lowered most people's property taxes and the revenue the city uses to pay for services. In addition, Lansing has made things worse by cutting our revenue to balance their budget.
"Ferndale has made millions of dollars in cuts over the past few years to address the problem, but we're at a point where further cuts will have a severe impact on how we operate, especially on our police and fire services. A vote for the millage would protect the level of service we enjoy now, but either way, council will soon pass a budget that reflects what the people decide on May 3. As a resident concerned about how these drastic cuts would change our city, I'm voting yes on this short-term — 5 year — way to get Ferndale through this financial crisis."
Ferndale Councilman Mike Lennon
"I have always been against higher taxes; however, at this point, it is a necessary evil to sustain essantial city services."
Ferndale Councilman Scott Galloway
"Ferndale is the greatest city in Michigan because our citizens are invested in the community. Whether it is supporting our schools, our parks, our local businesses or those who have fallen on hard times, Ferndale takes care of its own. We have always stepped up to meet the needs of fellow Ferndalians, and I have no doubt that we will again on May 3.
"Municipal finance in Michigan has encountered the 'perfect storm,' with property values down by approximately 50 percent while state government has broken its promises to share a portion of their tax revenues with cities. The result has been that despite no decrease in demand for fire, police, public works and recreation services, the money available to pay for those services has plunged dramatically.
"Council, the mayor and city staff continue to streamline operations and seek partnerships to deliver city services more efficiently and cost-effectively, but changing how things have been done for the better part of a century is slow and complicated. Change on this scale takes time and involves negotiation with our unions, our neighboring cities, the county and the state.
"I am confident we will get to a sustainable model for municipal service delivery with minimal disruption to city services if our citizens give give us just a bit more time. That is what the May 3 vote is all about. Change is coming to Ferndale. We can transition to the new reality in a methodical, well-planned, thoughtful approach over five years, or we can do it over several months in the midst of crisis. With the millage, the transition will be gradual and perhaps be almost invisible to most citizens; without the millage, change will come quickly and chaotically as we manage the crisis with a much smaller staff.
"Ferndale will rise to the occasion on May 3. Ferndale will pass this temporary and limited Headlee Override, and we will continue to live in the best city with the best services and the best people."
Mayor Pro Tem Kate Baker
"I will be voting yes on Tuesday to raise my taxes for the betterment of our entire community. Ferndale is a vibrant, welcoming, affordable city that attracts residents of all ages and backgrounds. Cutting our services 'to the bone' as I’ve heard some advocates say will not keep Ferndale the type of place I want to live, a place where my friends want to raise their children, where my parents want to retire and where businesses want to locate and expand.
"We cannot cut our way to prosperity – instead, we need to grow our way out of this recession. Drastic service reductions will not allow us to attract the new investment that our city needs to remain vibrant, safe and stable. We have made many salary, benefit, staff and service cuts. Enough is enough. It’s now time to reinvest in ourselves and our city. Please join me in voting yes on Tuesday."
Oakland County Commissioner (and former Mayor) Craig Covey
"Tuesday, May 3, is an important day, and voters will decide if we can keep the strong police and fire services and other city amenities that we enjoy by voting yes on the millage question, or they can vote no and reduce their property tax burden. I plan to vote yes because I believe we need these 3 mills for the next fiscal year in Ferndale to keep our city strong and moving forward.
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