"I don't think that this is needed," township resident Wally Struntz said. "We have plenty of officers around."
Struntz was one of the many attending Monday night's Township Board meeting who voiced opposition to the plan to add to the Sheriff’s Department roster.
"We are not a police state, so we don't need a police officer in every corner," he said. "That does not make us safe."
The Township Board voted unanimously to keep its police special assessment at 0.55 mill, rather than increasing it to 0.7 mill in order to fund a new sergeant to oversee the four sheriff's deputies already assigned to the township.
The township now pays for three deputies, while one is funded by a combination of funds from Grand Haven Area Public Schools (67 percent) and the township (33 percent). The township pays $361,250 for the deputies with a townshipwide special assessment.
If the board approved the increase, it would’ve brought in an extra $94,580 per year.
“Looking at any kind of tax increase at this point in time is not a good idea," township resident Russ Raymoure said. "I question not the officers asking for support, but is it really the time to do that?"
Given the nature of the economy, Raymoure said he wondered if it might be better for the township to look at the issue in several years.
While most people in the audience appeared to oppose a tax increase for a new officer, there was at least one who agreed with the plan. Township resident Karl Boersma noted that while crime does occur, the township has the resources to deal with it, unlike other nearby communities.
To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.