OUR VIEW: Times are tough, but protection is a must

By Daily News • Last Updated 9:43 pm on Friday, February 24, 2012

Times are tough, but protection is a must

How do you define quality of life?

Caring family and friends, good health, enough money to pay the bills and have some fun …

We get to choose some things in life. Other things are beyond our control.

Tuesday is one of the days we get to choose.

The Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office is asking us to support a property tax increase of up to 1 mill ($1 for every $1,000 of taxable value) to generate $1.564 million over the next five years.

If the millage passes, up to four road patrol deputies will be added to the sheriff’s roster, increasing the chance someone will be there to help us in time of an emergency. Court security will be continued, ensuring no one walks into the court complex armed with a weapon and a bad mood.

If the millage fails, three court security officers will lose their jobs. Odds are, road patrol deputies will be cut in the coming year, eliminating the only 24/7 law enforcement coverage in Montcalm County other than the Greenville Department of Public Safety.

The Montcalm County Board of Commissioners was forced to make $1.3 million in countywide budget cuts last year, including $400,000 from the sheriff’s department.

Sometimes there’s just not enough funding.

Now it’s up to us.

We are responsible for deciding whether we need or want qualified, trained deputies standing guard at the court complex and patrolling the many miles of roads in Montcalm County.
We can vote “yes.” The future is unknown, but at least we’ll have taken a stand to ensure deputies are standing by in times of emergencies — major and minor.

Or we can vote “no” and send the message that we just don’t think it’s our place to fund law enforcement coverage and that we think we can do without it.
District 2 Commissioner Tom Lindeman was the only county commissioner to vote “no” last year when commissioners voted to allow the law enforcement millage on the ballot. He’s concerned that if the millage passes, county officials may take away from the sheriff’s general fund allowance, leaving us right back where we started.

However, commissioners have pledged a resolution supporting the use of general fund and millage dollars to continue 24/7 road patrols, along with adding additional officers to the sheriff’s department.
With the commissioners’ pledge on the record, we too want to go on the record in support of Tuesday’s millage vote.

Times are tough. There’s not many special millages we would endorse at this time when many of us are struggling to pay our bills, fill our tanks with gas and put food on the table.

But our local law enforcement officials are always ready to take a stand when our community is faced with danger. On Tuesday, we’re taking a stand alongside our sheriff’s deputies, and we hope you will too.

Editorial opinions are the consensus of The Daily News editorial board.

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