2017-08-10 / News

Gaines Twp. seeks voter support for fire service

BY LANIA ROCHA
810-452-2652 • lrocha@mihomepaper.com

GAINES TOWNSHIP – Gaines Township voters will see a pair of millage requests on the November ballot.

The township is asking for 1.25 mils for seven years for fire service operating and building improvements, and 0.75 mils for 10 years for fire department capital equipment replacement.

If approved, the millages will begin with the winter 2017 tax bills.

With no current millage to support fire services, the township currently funds the department with about $147,000 in general fund money.

The 2-mil package would generate about $354,215 annually and free up general fund dollars for infrastructure projects, township officials said.

“None of us (on the township board of trustees) is wild about raising taxes or asking for a millage,” said Supervisor Paul Fortino.

The board, however, is facing the need to replace three big-ticket pieces of equipment, including two pumpers estimated to cost more than $405,000 each, he said.

“The most expensive equipment is coming up for replacement,” Fortino said. “They are at their lifetime limit, but the quality of our maintenance keeps them certified.”

The township board sets aside money every year for capital improvements, but they say they can’t save enough to keep up with equipment replacement.

“We can’t cover that ground fast enough,” Fortino said.

In addition, the fire department needs more space at station 1 on Grand Blanc Road, where some rigs must be stored outside, fire Chief Joe Hyrman has said.

If both millages pass, the cost to the owner of property worth $100,000 would pay about $100 more per year.

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