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Voters to face slight fire tax increase



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July 21, 2010 - Addison Township voters are going to decide whether they would like to approve or deny a millage tax increase for the Addison Township Fire Department when they head to the polls on Tuesday, Aug. 3.

Voters are being asked to approve a millage increase to 0.75 mills (75 cents for every $1,000 of a property's taxable value), creating revenue of $224,000 in the first year. The proposed rate increase is 0.0129 mill, which would raise the tax from 0.7371 mill to 0.75 mill, the amount voters originally approved.

The current millage is set to expire with the December 2010 levy. If approved, the millage would run for eight years, from 2011-2018.

According to Addison Twp. Fire Chief Jerry Morawski, the increase on the millage renewal is needed to help sustain the fire departments operational budget.

"The increase is to sustain (the budget) because of our taxable value has lowered," Morawski said. "So what we have right now with these three millages, we have taken a $70,000 hit. That is why I would like to keep it at .75 to help the difference of the $70,000."

According to Morawski, the fire department has two budgets – the capital budget, which is used for big item purchases that last for a long time, such as trucks and buildings, and the operational budget, which is used for day to day functions of the fire department.

Morawski said that the department already made the necessary cuts for the $70,000 decrease to the operational budget.

"We can sustain that, but any further cuts we won't be able to…that would be a third of our millage and we wouldn't be able to operate with a third of our millage gone," he added.

Some of the cost saving measures he made included implementing a duty call on non-emergency calls, meaning only the person on duty would go out for those. He eliminated the American Messaging pagers, a savings of nearly $5,000 and consolidated the fire alarm system at station one, saving the department an additional $5,000.

The department also eliminated the civilian employee clerk position and replaced her with a firefighter clerk, who is fire one, two and EMT trained. "That cut a bunch of money as well…this pay is starting out less because she hasn't been here as long.

Overall, Morawski hopes voters will realize how important the fire department is and this millage is. "I hope the residents see how valuable their fire department is and support us," he said.

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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