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Board makes EMS concessions for residents



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September 15, 2010 - By a 4-0 vote Monday night, the Groveland Township Board of Trustees approved charging Brandon Township citizens resident fees instead of non-resident fees for emergency medical services on M-15 between Grange Hall and Oakwood roads. Groveland Township Supervisor Bob DePalma was absent from the meeting.

The decision comes after Brandon Township officials cut police positions and voted June 7 to eliminate both the desk officer at the Brandon substation as well as the school liaison officer. The reduction was also prompted by Brandon Township residents' frustration knowing they are paying 3.25 mills for police services and calls for assistance into Groveland Township, where residents depend primarily on the Michigan State Police for protection. MSP is funded by the state and there is no way to reciprocate law enforcement services between the townships.

"I think the majority of Brandon residents think this area (Oakwood and Grange Hall roads along M-15) is in Brandon Township and frequent the Bueche's Plaza quite often," wrote Thurman in a letter to Groveland Township. "It is also the area where many of the Oakland County Sheriff calls for assistance to Groveland Township are dispatched to these calls."

Thurman attended the Groveland meeting and responded to the decision. "I appreciate the gesture of by the Groveland board," she said. "It's a step in the right direction."

Groveland Township Fire Chief Steve McGee, also at the meeting, was not certain of just how many times they respond to that specific area of M-15.

"It's much less than 5 percent of all the calls we respond to," said McGee. "They (Brandon Township residents) will now get the same reduced rate as Groveland residents. We want to to do all we can to make this equitable."

McGee said that on Tuesday the Groveland EMS responded to Bueche's Plaza and a Brandon Township resident that needed medical attention there.

Retired Brandon Fire Chief Bob McArthur, who offered the suggestion of the fee change to Thurman, said it a matter of equalization of costs between townships.

"It's just not equal. Brandon residents pay for the library and police. Groveland residents don't pay," said McArthur, fire chief for 12 years and a firefighter for 33 years. "The fire departments work together all the time, it's been excepally good. It's just a small thing but I hope a directon of cooperation will now follow."

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