Sheriff stresses importance of May 5 vote

LAKE COUNTY — On May 5, Lake County citizens will go to the polls and the Lake County Sheriff's Department wants to bring particular attention to one issue: the Road Patrol millage renewal.

Lake County Sheriff Robert Hilts wants to inform the public about how significant this renewal is and how it directly affects each and every resident.

"We're the only agency based in the county and we handle more than 90 percent of the calls here," said Hilts. "That means 90 percent of the responsibility falls on us. The Michigan State Police only has people here during the day, and they could be called away at any moment to some other part of the state."

The millage funds the Sheriff Department's Road Patrol. In a statement released by the department, they listed several services and resources the money from this millage funds within the community, including patrol services to help deter crime, canine resources to track criminals or find missing children, traffic control, home security alarm response and criminal investigations.

These are just a few of the things this money provides for the county, remarked Undersheriff Dennis Robinson. He stressed taxes will not increase, and this will merely extend the services already being provided with in the community.

"Whenever people hear 'millage,' they cringe," said Robinson. "We want people to know this is just a renewal and not a tax increase."

The Road Patrol Millage was last approved on Aug. 10, 2010, and will stay in effect until Dec. 31 of this year. If renewed, it will extend the millage until 2020. The millage collects 3 mills ($3 of every $1,000 of taxable income).

"We haven't heard anyone campaigning against this, but we think there are many people in the county who don't know about it," sad Robinson.

Hilts said he believes the Sheriff's Department's record in the last five years speaks for itself. He just wants to let the people of Lake County know how crucially important this millage can be for the county.

"The road patrol is how we keep the people of this county safe," explained Hilts. "There's no protection without the road patrol, and there's no road patrol without this millage."