On Aug. 17, during public comment (of the Orion Township Board of Trustees meeting), I requested to the Orion Township board seriously consider revisiting their choice of building the new Township Hall.
As a 24-year resident, in my recollection, I have never witnessed such eagerness to spend tax dollars, and a lot of it. For the first time ever, we are borrowing money through a $15 million bond issue, under the guise of “It’s cheap”! As the township supervisor said “never have interest rates been so low; therefore, now is the time to borrow money for our new township hall.”
He further said that the construction will not constitute an increase in taxes.
Although, both of these comments are seemingly true, there may be facts that you aren’t aware of!
What the Orion Township board is not telling you!
1. Project cost has doubled from the original $9.705 million to $18.4 million.
2. The new Township Hall will increase 250 percent in size, from 20,000 to 50,000 square feet.
3. More than $1 million has been spent on the project, which is not included in the estimated $18.4 million current projected cost.
4. Cost for demolition of the current Township Hall is estimated to be $100,000 which has been mentioned by the Orion Township board. There has been no mention of where this expense will be taken and there are no plans for the land use. The old adage, kick this can down the road.
5. Orion Township will incur additional operating cost for maintenance, repair, insurance, and other unknown services. This will include hiring more employees due to the 250 percent increase in building size.
6. The contract with Waste Management landfill is $175,000 is promised; however, this contract is due to expire nine years prior to the bond repayment schedule. What is the plan for this shortfall? Could it be increased taxes to homeowners?
7. Per the new Township Hall master plan, the external departments such as Police, Parks and Recreation, Water and Sewer departments will pay rent for their newly occupied space. Is this another form of taxation?
The Master Plan that is located on Orion Township’s website mentions the following facts:
8. SEMCOG predicts that Orion Township will experience moderate, but constant population growth until 2040. The diagram depicts an increase between 1,000 to 2,000 residents over two decades.
9. The 35 to 59 age group is projected to see the largest decrease and the rapid growth falls in the 65 and up age groups, which is of particular importance.
10. The jobs sector predicts that manufacturing and retail trade will experience a decline.
11. The average household size is projected to decrease to 2.73 persons per household.
12. 82 percent of Orion Township’s tax base is realized through households.
Furthermore, we are learning to work remotely. Less traffic will be realized in the new Township Hall.
I advise all readers to contact Township Hall to examine details and inquire on the specifics of the “unstated.”
We must ask ourselves, isn’t it wise to take a step back? Is this in the best interest of the residents? Possibly, could there be an alternative solution to meet the minimum requirements? You Decide!