City of Wyoming Will Ask Voters to Consider Future Funding for Public Safety and Parks

Posted on Monday, September 20, 2021 | News & Announcements


Wyoming, Michigan, September 21, 2021 – The Wyoming City Council on Monday took action to place two proposals on the May 2022 ballot that, if approved, would provide future funding to support critical public safety and parks needs, make the City more financially sustainable and minimize the overall tax burden of residents.

The first ballot proposal would allow the City to levy an income tax on residents, businesses and non-residents who work in Wyoming. The second ballot proposal would decrease the City of Wyoming property tax millage by more than half.

If approved, the proposals would generate an additional $6 million in revenue each year, supporting significant investment to improve public safety and parks infrastructure for residents, businesses and visitors. Both proposals need to pass for either to go into effect.

“These proposals support the City of Wyoming’s commitment to community, safety and stewardship,” Mayor Jack Poll said. “Our current revenues are not able to support the community’s public safety and parks needs. Public Safety has seen an increase in the frequency and complexity of calls for service and resident surveys have clearly illustrated a need for additional, proactive traffic enforcement and community policing in our city. City parks built 25 or more years ago are now in need of capital investment to continue to meet the community’s needs.

“After carefully reviewing our options, the City Council has agreed that an income tax is the most equitable way to fund these needs and ensure a sustainable economic future for Wyoming.”

The funding generated by the income tax would allow the Wyoming Department of Public Safety to add 27 firefighters and 14 police positions, significantly improving public safety by decreasing response times, enhancing crime prevention efforts and adding more proactive traffic enforcement. The funding also would provide $600,000 in sustainable annual capital investment in the City’s parks system. The current parks millage does not have capacity to provide any funding for capital investment.

If approved by voters, the income tax – for residents, businesses, and non-residents working in Wyoming – would go into effect starting January 2023. State law allows the City to levy an income tax of up to 1% for residents and businesses and up to 0.5% for non-residents.

The City estimates it needs to levy only 0.8% from residents and businesses and 0.4% from non-residents who work in Wyoming to generate enough revenue to support these needs. A $2,000 deduction will be applied for each member of the household. Retirement benefits, annuities, pensions, military pay, unemployment benefits, welfare relief, tax refunds and other similar types of income would be exempt from the tax.

Property owners would see a decrease of 4.3497 mills in summer 2022 and an additional decrease of 2.5450 mills in summer 2023. This reduction in property taxes would offset, at least in part for many residents, the impact of the income tax.

If the ballot measures pass, Wyoming would join Grand Rapids, Walker, Muskegon and 21 other Michigan cities that levy an income tax to ensure a strong and healthy future.

“We have taken significant steps over the past 15 years to offset the effects of decreased revenue sharing from the state, higher costs for health care and other insurance, the loss of our largest taxpayer and the 2008 recession,” City Manager Curtis Holt said. “Rather than ask taxpayers for more money, we have tightened our belt by cutting positions, moving from a defined benefit to defined contribution retirement plan, privatizing public safety dispatch, closing park facilities and more. There is simply no more to cut without negatively impacting the quality of services delivered – which will impact the quality of life for those who live and work in Wyoming.”

Wyoming’s public safety millage – approved by voters in 2010 and made permanent in 2018 – has not allowed the City to keep pace with growing demand for services. The Department of Public Safety relies heavily on mutual aid from surrounding communities – receiving support from other agencies nearly 140 times in 2020. Current minimum staffing does not provide the department with enough firefighters on any shift to safely enter a structure fire. The City has 1.2 police officers per 1,000 people, which continues to fall below the national average of 2.4,  decreases response times to critical incidents.

The City’s current Parks and Recreation millage – approved by voters in 1995 – also is inadequate to support both the operational and capital needs of the City’s Parks and Recreation Department. The City manages 21 parks, almost 700 acres of parkland, including two lodges, 17 ballfields, seven football and soccer fields, 14 shelters, a total of 32 basketball, tennis, volleyball and pickleball courts, 17 playgrounds, four splash pads, a skate park, two nature preserves and the Wyoming Senior Center.

The City considered a number of funding sources, including new or increased millages, and determined an income tax would be the most equitable and economical way to increase funding to critical public safety and parks needs.

“The diversity of revenue sources will provide better long-term financial sustainability for the future,” Poll said. “We looked at a number of options, including raising both millages, before deciding this approach was the most equitable for our residents.”

To learn more about the ballot proposals, visit

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