Next week, people in Flint, Lansing and Royal Oak will vote on renewing public safety millages.
Flint police officers are spending their off-duty hours handing out information to promote the vote. Last night, firefighters showed volunteers how to escape a smoky fire, while city officials talked up the millage renewal.
The renewal vote could be the difference between Flint hiring new firefighters or layoffs.
Flint recently qualified for a two-year federal SAFER grant. The grant will enable the city to hire 33 new firefighters. But the city needs to renew the grant to be able to outfit the new hires with equipment and pay them, after the federal grant expires.
So renewing Flint’s public safety millage is viewed as critical.
“'Cause we need to train them and to get them experienced so when the older crew leaves, these guys can takeover,” says Jerry Sisovsky, vice president of the Flint firefighters’ union.
Flint’s public safety millage was passed by a wide margin in 2012. But since then, many residents have questioned whether the money has been effectively spent improving the city’s police and fire departments.