About a dozen residents voiced their opinions on the proposed 1.15-mill levy that would generate an estimated $740,000 for fire department operations and capital expenses.
Most spoke against the proposed levy, but resident John Stuparits said he had a house fire in a neighboring community about 10 years ago, and he is in full support of the proposal.
“I think anything we can do to support our fire department benefits all of us,” Stuparits said.
The proposed special tax would be coupled with a 0.55-mill reduction in the township's general operating fund millage, resulting in a net increase of 0.6 of a mill. The net result for the owner of a $200,000 home would be an additional $60 a year in taxes.
Because of a standing-room-only crowd of more than 70, the Township Board moved Monday's meeting and hearing from the Township Hall to Barber School.
Brian Duffy, 17796 Water Chase Trail, said he didn't appreciate that the township sent out a public hearing notification during a holiday week when many people were out of town.
Duffy said he has collected 34 petition signatures from neighbors who are against the proposed assessment.
According to township attorney Ron Bultje, state statute requires petition signatures from the owners of 10 percent of total township land. Because the township consists of about 20 square miles, the owners of about two square miles would need to sign a referendum petition, Township Supervisor John Nash figures.
Bultje said it is not up to the township to advise on specifics or logistics of how best to quantify the state requirement or measure land area.
Bultje said the deadline for such a petition is not clear, but he suspects as long as signatures are submitted “during the process” and before a final decision by the Township Board, it would be adequate.
Without a voter referendum, the Township Board could approve the tax levy without voter consent, and it would appear on this December's tax bill.
To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.