GHT voters asked to OK fire equipment tax

Township voters will be asked to OK a millage for fire and rescue services in the township on Aug. 7. If approved, it would provide funds to purchase a new firefighting apparatus for the Township's Fire/Rescue Department.
Alex Doty
Jul 27, 2012

“It’s a one-year equipment millage to pay for a part of a quint,” Township Manager Bill Cargo said.

The apparatus was given the quint name for the five functions it provides: pump, water tank, fire hose, aerial device and ground ladders.

The millage is for 0.59 mill for all property in the township. This would cost $29.50 for homeowners with a home with a taxable value of $50,000.

The estimate of the revenue the Township will collect if the millage is approximately $383,021. The remaining cost of the quint — about $400,000 — would be paid for with general fund cash reserves.

Fire Chief Tom Gerencer said that in 2009, the township was able to use fund balance to purchase a tanker. This wasn’t possible this time due to the economy, he said.

“We would have saved up for this new piece of apparatus if the taxable value didn’t go down with our houses,” Gerencer said. “It has become necessary.”

The quint would replace a 1989 vehicle that is currently out of service and serves as the township’s second out truck. Gerencer said the truck has been out of service for the past three months.

“This 1989 (engine), its life expectancy is 20 years old. We’ve gone over that,” Gerencer said. “We always hope to get 20 years out of a piece of apparatus.”

The new apparatus is 36 feet long and carries a 75-foot aerial ladder. It will allow firefighters to ventilate roofs beginning at about 80 seconds rather than the 7.5 minutes it takes to set up ladders with a traditional engine.

Gerencer said the new truck improves safety by eliminating dangerous outside riding seats with limited safety restraints, it adds foam firefighting technology, and the inclusion of an aerial ladder would allow easier roof access.

“With a quint-style truck, it allows us to get to the roof quicker to put a vent hole in, if needed,” Gerencer said.

Gerencer noted that if voters approve the millage, he would look to the township board to determine what to do with the older 1989 engine.

“It is kind of up in the air with what we’re going to do with that truck right now,” he said.

He said the township could either refurbish the truck for use as a backup or sell it.

According to Cargo, the township currently does not have a plan in the event the millage proposal fails.

“We’d have to go back to the drawing board,” Cargo said. “We haven’t thought out what the alternative would need to be.”

 

Comments

newspaperlawyer

People read this BS information... Now this vehicle that is going to be replaced has out of service for 3 mos. That surely was not passed on over the last 3 months... So that means the twp fire department has only 2 fire trucks to fight a large fire. oops that right they have Grand Haven City... If you drive by the fire station daily you will see the station full of trucks.. If this vehicle is broke down why would we not repair it. Sounds like poor management and planning by the twp board. The twp board and fire chief wants us to believe this is the best use of resources. Maybe the twp board has over extended themselves with the way the fire department is being staffed and equipped. Just wait they will be coming back for a second fire truck next year.

The Pros and Cons of Quints
ADVANTAGES
• It looks good on paper. An increase in pump capacity can be shown, as has been done in Richmond, Virginia, and St. Louis, Missouri, when the departments purchased fleets of quints with 2,000-gpm pumps.
• Reduction of staffing = saving money. By staffing each quint with four persons, the staffing of separate truck companies is effectively eliminated. This results in large savings of personnel salaries.
• Increase in the number of aerial ladders available. Every piece of apparatus now is equipped with a "big stick."
• Apparatus able to perform engine or truck tasks. The quint offers the flexibility to perform as an engine or a truck, as needed.
• An all-new fleet. If a department chooses to use an "all-quint fleet," it will acquire an entire new fleet of firefighting apparatus at one time.
• Four-door cabs with air-conditioning. This is an advantage over older apparatus, since the firefighters are safely enclosed in the vehicle. Rehabilitation time during hot weather is greatly reduced because of air-conditioning.
• Ability to make immediate ladder rescues above the third floor. Having an aerial ladder on each piece of apparatus makes it possible to make quicker rescues above the third floor, since no time is wasted waiting for other companies to arrive.
• Superior ladder pipe. The ladder pipe on the quint is prepositioned and is instantly ready for use. It also can sweep a 180° area, as opposed to older-style ladder nozzles, which can only sweep 30°.
DISADVANTAGES
• Difficult to maneuver. The apparatus is large, is heavy, and can be difficult to maneuver in traffic. It is more difficult to turn the quint into narrow streets than a pumper. There has been a marked increase in the number of vehicle-involved accidents compared with the times when more traditional apparatus were used.
• Increased maintenance and fuel costs. Many separate systems-the water pump, motor and drivetrain, aerial ladder hydraulic system, and electric generator, for example-are placed close together. Mechanics often have to remove these items to access the component in need of repair. This is time consuming and, consequently, costly.
Also, the quints have shown a reduced brake service life and increased tire wear. All 10 tires on Quint 6 needed to be replaced after just 10,000 miles.
• Increased response time. Reduced maneuverability has increased response time. Firefighters have found that they have to dismount at short intersections and back up the apparatus, which significantly increases response time.
Also, because the average quint weighs more than a pumper, it is more likely to encounter bridge weight restrictions in the response district, which results in a longer response time.
• Increase in unprotected areas during emergencies. The reduction in staffing means that more companies are needed on the first alarm (to have sufficient personnel at the scene). This results in more areas being left unprotected.
• Perfect positioning needed. The 75-foot ladder has come up short when perfect positioning at the fire scene is not possible.
• All-at-once purchase poses risks. Purchasing an entire fleet at one time is risky because one specification error or miscalculation can result in the entire fleet's becoming problematic for the next 15 to 20 years.
• Insufficient personnel for engine and truck functions. It is impossible with a staff of only four firefighters to effectively do both engine company functions and truck company work with the same crew.
• Fire station renovations may be needed. Old fire stations may have to be renovated to accommodate the quint. The quint's weight may necessitate changes in the floor support design, and the station's door size may have to be modified to accommodate the quint's height.
• Ineffective ladder company function. Many departments that use quints report that ladder company functions are not being performed effectively. Therefore, for normal ladder company functions to be performed in a timely manner, strict operating procedures must be enforced.
• Insufficient space for ground ladders. The quint, since it is to perform as an engine and a truck, does not have enough space to carry the equivalent footage of ground ladders as senior tractor-drawn ladders.
• Smaller booster tank. The quint's booster tank size might be much smaller than a conventional triple combination pumper.

The problem today is that in many small to medium departments, the quint may be the only initial responding unit. Determining which role it will play has major consequences to the incident‘s outcome. I recently watched as a quint was first-in to a fire in a multifamily apartment building but failed to position itself to the best advantage for either deploying hose lines or using its aerial. Due to the narrow street access, the quint‘s placement doomed the subsequent arriving apparatus to less than ideal positions for conducing fire operations.

Because of the potential confusion of roles on the fire scene, several departments are moving away from quints and back to dedicated engine and ladder companies, where the roles of the fire crews are clearly defined.

Taxpayingresident

Way to copy and paste. The area around here isn't busy enough for decicated engine and ladder companies, and unless you want your taxes to really go up to staff dedicated engine and ladder companies I suggest you re-think the one time fee its going to cost you. I am for the truck and will gladly pay. I pay my taxes and expect the best equipment for these guys to do their job safely and effectively. Even if they never come to my house, I am glad i could be apart of helping someone else in a time of need so to speak.

newspaperlawyer

You must not like the truth being cut and pasted... The issue here is not whether the GH TWP fire department needs a needs a new truck or not... YES they do... to replace the truck that has been broke down for 3 mos or more... WHO knows what to believe coming out of those mouths. Since I started reviewing all the old article written by the tribune and the fire chief... The reasoning has been a totally sham... The average home costs approx $150,000 to $200,000 this will cost the avg home owner an additional 150.00 to 200.00 on the tax bill and this does not include any of the additional special assessments the twp places already places on the tax bills for police, lighting, dial a ride, museum, library and what other BS they come up and that does not include the other county taxes. Yes this maybe a one time cost.. but then they will back next year to replace the other older truck and then they will be in the same boat... not having the truck replacement cost spread out... Sounds like poor planning by the board.. or maybe the twp did not need to spend 45,000.00 on a new phone system.... Maybe the twp should start outsourcing some of the cost here so they have the money to purchase this new over priced fire truck... like hiring someone to cut the lawns... People... remember the twp still has not produced any statistics to show the need of this type of truck... I believe they could produce the stats on how many times the city aerial truck was called... and to how many times the twp sends a truck and man power to the city... which really cost us tax payers more money then what you really know.... I think if you read the above comments you will find that larger fire departments have tried this method and found it not to work and be too costly... Also remember the twp fire does a great job... but if they want to become a big city department.. then maybe its time for them to go back to being a volunteer fire department. What is sad is that the twp manager does not have a plan if the special assessment is voted down. They have the money in place to purchase a new fire truck.... and they also have the money to purchase a new quint if they really need it.

zwesterhouse

NO!! not a single cent more!! Any word coming out of their mouths is nothing but lies!!
My taxes went up $700 dollars this year!!! Thats not typo! $700 ! I don't know how many citizens are getting so fed up with this crap! They pay public administrators a various entities over $100,000 a year and higher ! with full benefits! and a year ago it was slow walking and sad singing about being broke. $29 dollar increase in taxes ! LIES !!! LIES!!! my went up $700!!!
enough is enough. Lets get a ballot proposal on a November ballot to slash all those property taxes in half - Lets get the right language so those high priced administrators cannot use loopholes to make it useless.

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