Proposal fires up residents

Despite having the lowest property tax rate in the area, Spring Lake Township residents threw a wet blanket on a proposed fire department special assessment during a public hearing for it this week.
Marie Havenga
Jul 11, 2013

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.

Comments

Gwen66

Seems Spring Lake Township residents have a habit of complaining about paying for public services..."despite having the lowest tax rate in the area".

gordbzz231

i haven't heard of anyone protesting the new addition to the spring lake school, but they complain of a measly 700,000 dollars that they need in case of an emergeny or maybe they are getting sick of more money coming out of their pocket

newspaperlawyer

Doesn't this also effect the Village residence???? Maybe if the fire department expressed in a budget form what the plan or use of this tax increase will go for. I think I pay enough property tax in SL Twp already how about you????

watersurfer

From what I understand, this is not a budget increase for the fire department. It is the same budget amount as last year. The fire dept budget has increased over the last several years and the twp board says that they don't have enough money left over for the other projects within the general fund. They maybe don't mention that they decided they had enough room in the general budget this year to add a county police car that is fully paid for with Twp funds... Well over $100k a year. So some of the tax increase could be safely assumed to be for the fire budget that had increased over the years but that's not the entire reason seemingly. I know no one likes to pay more taxes but at some point it is necessary if people want to enjoy bike paths, have adequate police and fire protection, and have roads that aren't falling apart. I feel the $60 extra dollars i'lll pay a year is a fair price for the benefit it will provide my family and others. It is a tax increase, but its not $700,000. It is much less since the general fund millage will be less since it won't be containing the fire dept budget within it.

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