The board voted 6-0 in a special meeting to hold two public hearings to set the stage for a proposed 1.15-mill levy to cover the fire department's operating and capital costs.
The plan also includes a 0.55-mill reduction, leaving a net increase of 0.6 mill for taxpayers. This would cost the owner of a house valued at $200,000 with $60 more per year in property taxes.
The public hearings will take place July 8 and Aug. 12, both at 7 p.m.
“Maybe we will have a lot of support, maybe we will have a lot of rejection, maybe we will have a lot of ideas," Township Supervisor John Nash said. "You have to start the ball rolling.”
Township Manager Gordon Gallagher noted that the special assessment has nothing to do with the township's plans to build a new fire station near the intersection of Fruitport Road and M-104.
The fire department represents about 30 percent of the township's annual budget. The department's budget this year is $725,000.
Nash said the assessment would generate about $350,000 a year.
“The fire department keeps growing and growing,” Nash said. “We haven't had a millage increase in nine years and we can't continue to do that."
Nash said 12 of the 17 townships in Ottawa County currently have a similar millage in place.
“When we have this addition to our millage, we will still be the lowest of any in the area,” he said.
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