Fire safety levy eyed in SL Twp.

Township trustees last week stoked the discussion for a special assessment to supplement the fire department's budget.
Marie Havenga
Jun 28, 2013

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.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

 

Comments

myasenak

One has to wonder if the request for more money is to cover the cost of the land purchase in the Village for the new fire station and to cover the cost of the money for the "First Right of Refusal" for the property adjacent from the property that the SLTwp has already purchased.

Zegota

With three great fire departments in the area, is this time for the Village of Spring Lake to look into an agreement similar to the Ferrysburg/Spring Lake Police Department with the Fire Department of Ferrysburg.
It is not logical nor fair for the People of Spring Lake Village to pay for the expansion of the Spring Lake Township Fire Department, just what values from Township taxes does the Village taxpayers receive from the township?
The Village even pays extra for there Fire protection right out of Village taxes, besides the taxpayers also pays township taxes?, oh well. Once you create a new monster, it is very difficult to control it.

newspaperlawyer

Look at other communities in the county Holland, Park, Allendale they all still have part time or volunteer style fire departments. With the way the mutual aid agreements are working in the tricitiies area why would they need to increase the budget. The only run increase is from the medical runs county wide. I am all for increases when it is justified but maybe they need the money to assist with the wages for the new sheriff/fire deputy that was just hired. Sounds like the spending is out of control... Maybe the SL TWP treasury should abstain from voting on this seems its a conflict of interest for him seeing he is filling the acting fire chief position. Maybe we should get the real answers why Chief Nuville has left his job. From what I hear the young firefighters did not like his decision or the direction the department is going. Maybe he kept the cost down.

twpresident

Why is it newspaperlawyer that you are always commenting negatively on anything that involves fire departments? What is your deal? Did you get denied from being a member of a fire department at some point? Could not pass the test? What is it. Every article the tribune post about anything to do with fire departments in the tri-cities area you are right there, quick to bash them. What a load of !?*^. Spring Lake has a bunch of really great people and I am not sure what you are getting at, however Spring Lake is predominately paid on call (not volunteer) just like the other places you mentioned. I cannot see how spending is out of control there. I actually believe they should have more than what they currently have. Like I said, they are great guys, however the community suffers becuase with paid on call you don't have a truck out the door right away (rapid response) and things like fire inspections etc.

Bravo

Money would be better spent hiring OCSD to staff the area with paramedic E-units. Increased police presence and paramedic first responders. Thank you Chief for your 30 + years but get out. Shame on the board. Shame, shame, shame. Something underhanded is happening here.

twpresident

Bravo, Don't know why you are telling their chief to get out? He recently retired and has not been replaced??? As far as paramedic e-units go, I have been in EMS for a long time (around 20 years) and I have worked with some of the E-units from the Sheriffs department in other areas of the county and I can honestly say in all do respect to my law enforcement friends that while it may seem like a great thing and cost cutting they actually tend to cost significantly more (around 120,000 per deputy). Also they are not always available (what happens when they have to bring someone to jail?) My experience with police on medicals in general has been they do it, however it is not what they really want to do. They would really rather be out fighting crime which is great, because that is what they do. I have had much better experience with fire departments as the first responders. Nothing against the police. I know several of them and they are great guys and gals it's just not the best situation.

newspaperlawyer

I find this statement totally BS. The same goes for any medical responding unit. In Grand Haven Twp I watch daily the Twp fire department respond two paramedic along with two paramedics from the local ambulance service. SO then they activate the fire tones and several fighters respond to the station for standby at a tune of 40.00-50.00 per guy to wait for the second call or the very limited fire calls. This costs the tax payers thousands of wasted dollars every year. It make more sense for the twp to reduce the cost to the tax payers. The Sheriff department has been able to handle most emergency situations with one paramedic until the ambulance services arrives. If you were old enough you would understand that the police e-unit paramedical program was started in West Michigan nearly 40 years ago. The only reason some have disbanded was to give the full time local fire departments more to do. This was do to the reduction in actual fire calls. Your comment "My experience with police on medicals in general has been they do it, however it is not what they really want to do. They would really rather be out fighting crime which is great, because that is what they do" this is due the local fire departments beating down the police officers who are medical trained. What does make real sense is making all public safety officers medical first responders and stop the turf wars and the stupid rules that the fire departments change so thee cops don't respond to the medical calls. It all about getting help to the scene and stop wasting tax dollars. Once again "junior" stay in your lane" your way out of your league.

beeman

Gordon Gallagher is just looking for a new office. Spring lake Township is completely crooked. Time will tell The true story behind this completely Incompetent group of people

Bravo

twpresident.................I was talking about Nuvill getting screwed out of his job after some 30 years. Shame on the board for forcing him out. Looks as though the reasons are coming out now. He wanted to keep things in check, as one should in this economy. The others obviously were not content with this. Now the tax payers are in for it. Add to this the new school millage that will likely pass. Hold on to your wallet.

newspaperlawyer

Bravo you are correct... Its time for a message to be sent to these leaders enough is enough. I am all for mileage increases when necessary but to bury wasteful spending NO JOY HERE..... Maybe it's about time for us tax payers to form the committees on forming a county wide fire authority with would be pay for out of the county taxes we already pay. Let see here... Know who would be the chief???? that is the real issue with all these twps wanting their own everything... CONTROL.... We have all kinds of governmental authorities already... The County 911 system is funded by many ways... they ram that system down the tax payers throat cause the other police and fire departments could not agree on having the sheriff department do the dispatching seeing they already were doing 75 % of it already in the county... It all comes down to costs and sharing the burden on all that pay and use the service. Maybe we can get rid of the duplication of services then and look at funding additional services. This same garbage went on in Grand Haven Twp last year over the purchase of a new Aerial or Quint Squirt type fire truck when we already have 2 within 10 min responds time... so now we are over budget on that truck and taking money from the general fun to pay for the over extended mileage voted fire truck. I'm sure the twp with not sell the old truck to offset the cost... they will have it fixed and let it sit in the station. These boards all act the same way and spend money when it is our money....

Bravo

Form the NW Ottawa Fire Authority. One chief. Captains at each station on each shift. Closest station responds to call.

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