Jackson resident will support municipal referendum

Jackson residents are facing a critical decision on April 27 that will determine not only the level of taxes we will pay, but also whether 23 police officers and other township employees will be laid off due to budgetary restrictions.

As a member of the Citizens Budget Advisory Committee, I had the opportunity to review the township budget in detail and to question township administrators about how our tax dollars are being spent. It is my opinion that the administration and township employees are working hard to do more with less, as should be expected in this economic crisis.

Asimple review shows that the proposed budget holds the line on spending again this year, but limitations brought on by state law force the township to ask voters for their support in covering critical expenses. The referendum that was unanimously agreed to by the Township Council gives the voters a chance to truly have a say in the operation of Jackson.

If the referendum is passed, and for what amounts to an additional $3 a month on average, employee furloughs will end, township services will be restored, and there will be no change to our police coverage.

If the referendum fails, dramatic cuts in services and law enforcement will likely be required, and that can only lead to a loss in the quality of life across our community.

When you consider that Jackson police responded to more than 54,000 calls for service last year, dealt with serious drug crimes that are on the rise in town, and the fact that our police department is already understaffed below national and state standards, I believe it is necessary for public safety alone that township residents support the referendum on April 27.

As a fiscal conservative, I abhor the constant rise in government spending and taxation. However, I believe that government’s No. 1 priority is the safety of its citizens, and maintaining a properly staffed police force is a price I personally am willing to pay a few dollars more a month.

Rob Nixon Jackson