Flint voters must decide on two public safety millages on Tuesday

May 1, 2011

This week, Flint residents will vote on two millages that could affect crime in their city.  The results may depend on whether voters are more concerned about taxes or about crime. 

One of the millages would pay for reopening Flint’s city jail.   The jail has only been open sporadically since the late 1980’s, due to Flint’s chronic budget problems.   If approved by voters,  the millage would generate about $2 million in its first year.  It would cost the average Flint homeowner about $40 a year.  

Supporters say reopening the city jail will allow Flint police to lock up some misdemeanor offenders,  who otherwise would just be given a ticket and allowed to walk away.

The other vote is a renewal of Flint’s existing public safety millage.   The millage pays for more than a dozen police officers.    Without it, the officers would likely have to be laid off.  

Flint police are battling a surge in violent crime in recent years, at the same time budget problems have forced the city to layoff dozens of police officers.  

There are also controversial public safety votes in Jackson and Lansing on Tuesday.