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Pontiac emergency manager wants to raise taxes and cut services

Dave Garvin
Downtown Pontiac, Michigan. The city is at a crossroads as a state-appointed emergency manager tries to keep the city from running out of money.

How to get by with less is an issue all levels of government are facing.

The emergency manager in Pontiac, Michael Stampfler, is proposing a combination of tax hikes and service cuts to cure the city's budgetary ills as reported in the Oakland Press:

Stampfler took to the microphone this morning for an informational meeting about the updated financial plan that could mean property taxes being raised between 6 and 8 mills. He requested the public and elected officials submit ideas in writing if they have alternatives to what is proposed. Stampfler released an update of his financial plan, adding $15.05 million to the budget with a combination of cuts and possible tax hikes.

An 8 mill property tax increase would mean that a property owner whose house is assessed at $50,000 would pay $400 more a year in taxes.

This past spring, the assessed value of homes in Pontiac dropped by an average of 21.4 percent, resulting in $2.6 million in lost annual revenues for the city.

The details of Stampfler's plan can be found on the city of Pontiac's website.

The Oakland Press reports that Pontiac council officials asked if Stampfler would consider meeting with them to discuss options:

The elected officials are welcome to submit a written plan for consideration, which can result in face-to-face meetings to discuss the issue, Stampfler said. “It's very difficult to work out complex issues with everyone wanting the floor,” he said. The council is working on a plan to submit to Stampfler and that information will be released soon, according to Watkins and other members.

Stampfler said actions must be taken quickly before the city runs out of money.

"I believe by certain adjustments that we've just been able to make this last two weeks we will extend the date to the city running out of money by April next year by accomplishing these other goals we will be able to make it through the year."

Mark Brush was Michigan Radio’s Digital Media Director. He succumbed to a year-long battle with glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer, in March 2018. He was 49 years old.