Township fire funding methods questioned; should be put to vote

The need for funding the Grand Haven Township Fire-Rescue Department has caused township officials to ponder the introduction of a special assessment.
Apr 15, 2014

Township officials initially talked about the prospects in March, and have scheduled an April 14 public hearing to get input on the topic.

The Township Board has recommended approval of a townshipwide assessment district equal to 1.86 mills — an increase of about one-third of a mill — for the fire department.

While we recognize that there may indeed be a need for funding our essential services for the township’s emergency department, we question the methods that the township is using to go about it.

While the Township Board has scheduled a public hearing, and also sought community input at other meetings, the decision is still left up to those in charge.

It seems like, for as important an issue as this is, and how it could impact homeowners’ pocketbooks, voters should be the decision-makers.

As Township Clerk Sue Buitenhuis said in a previous story, “By changing the millage to a special assessment, the board is basically taking the right to vote for the millage away from the residents.”

Residents deserve that opportunity to let their voices be heard by putting the issue on the ballot and letting voters have the final say. After all, it is their money that will be affected by the proposed assessment — and to have no choice in the matter, save for a pleading to the board, seems unacceptable.

Do the right thing, Grand Haven Township, and give all the residents a true voice on the issue.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to news@grandhaventribune.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.

Comments

Interestedreader

So what happened at April 14 meeting?

newspaperlawyer

So now with two Twp special assessment already on our tax roll they want to add a third which you can not deduct on your taxes just like the other two. So what has happen with the fire budget.. The TWP has used the general fund to fund most of the fire budget with a additional fire mileage for equipment and supplement, which is do to expire. They know with all the additional special mileages coming up this year asking for additional monies is in jeopardy. Maybe the fire department has overstep it budget. Most people don't spend outside of the budget means. I believe a TWP board member has ask the manager to investigate what it will take to put the police assessment before the voters. Certainly have not heard anything about this. Its time to stop this waste, fraud and abuse to the tax payers. This is nothing more then an abuse of power by the TWP board. I support the fire service ... But not duplication of services and over spending on unnecessary equipment and personnel cost.

Maybe they should look at hiring paramedics for the TWP sheriff deputies and putting that paramedic unit with them. That would cut the fire dept budget.

Interestedreader

Again,so what happened at the April 14th meeting?

Interestedreader

I think NPL needs to do a little more research on the deductibity statement.

Whatahoot

Besides the fact our home value was reduced this year and our tax was increased... And That we will have to take time off work to visit the hall to get information describing where a million dollars is going to be spent?! We get the announcement letters but it is irresponsible to spend this kind of money without the proper information and due diligence! Yes, we support our services but this Smells out of control. Will be attending the April 28th public hearing...

ghtbuc

So, according to those at the April 14 meeting, Manager Cargo read emails he received regarding this...of 64 emails, 62 were in favor of the SAD. I'm wondering why that wasn't in the article. The people are speaking up and many are in favor of this. According to https://treas-secure.state.mi.us..., the taxes in GHT are some of the lowest around, and they provide more services than most. I call that getting your money's worth! Newspaperlawyer suggests we should have the Sheriff's Dept E Units cover the area. If you check the website I shared, you'll find that the townships that utilizie the E Units ALL pay higher taxes than we do. And, they still have to turn over calls the fire department. Bad idea npl!

Interestedreader

I would encourage those who have a financial interest in this agenda to review the 2nd to last paragraph in the recent mailing they received from GHT. In short if they overexpend by 10%,they just need to have a hearing,what kind of control or business plan is that?

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