2017-11-09 / Front Page

Gaines Twp. voters turn down fire dept. millages

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


Gaines Township Fire Chief Joe Hyrman and his wife, township Treasurer Diane Hyrman, right, wait for the final vote count while election workers prepare paperwork. 
Photo by Lania Rocha Gaines Township Fire Chief Joe Hyrman and his wife, township Treasurer Diane Hyrman, right, wait for the final vote count while election workers prepare paperwork. Photo by Lania Rocha GAINES TOWNSHIP – Gaines Township voters said no to a pair of millage requests for the fire department.

With 1,210 of the more than 5,200 registered voters casting ballots in Tuesday’s election, the final tally saw Proposal 1 falling by a vote of 835 to 402, and Proposal 2 being defeated 790 to 416.

“I’m disappointed,” said Fire Chief Joe Hyrman. “We provide a service to the residents. This is their fire department, not mine.”

Hyrman said he was shocked by the vote margin, although he had been optimistic because of the steady voter turnout throughout the day.

“I had hoped they were supporting us, not against us,” he said. “But, things will go on.”

Township Supervisor Paul Fortino said he, too, was surprised by the results.

“I’m just plain disappointed,” he said. “It’s going to take some time to digest. I thought it would be a lot closer than that. I thought, if one went down, the other might pass.”

Fortino wasn’t sure what brought about the resounding defeat, but he suspects some of the responsibility falls on what he called a misinformation campaign.

“There was quite a bit of negative misrepresentation of the real situation with the township,” he said. “As far as taxation levels, we’re one of the lowest in Genesee County, and we still would have been even if the millage had passed. That’s not how it was portrayed. What they said regarding how high the taxes are was untrue. A lot of people were misinformed. But, we’ll live with it.”

“We’ll keep doing what we’ve been doing,” said township Clerk Michael Dowler.

On the Ballot

Voters were asked to decide on two proposals: a 1.25-mil increase for seven years for fire department operations and building improvements, and a 0.75-mil increase for 10 years for capital equipment replacements.

The vote counts per precinct were:

Proposal 1

Precinct 1 91 – Yes 262 – No
Precinct 2 92 – Yes 157 – No
Precincts 3 & 4 186 – Yes 416 – No

Proposal 2

Precinct 1 100 – Yes 254 – No
Precinct 2 107 – Yes 142 – No
Precincts 3 & 4 209 – Yes 394 – No

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