Source: Sherman Publications

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Township to seek fire millage renewal in August

by David Fleet

March 28, 2012

Atlas Twp.-The township board of trustees voted 5-0 on Monday night to place a renewal of 1 mill for the fire department on the Aug. 7 general election ballot.

The fire millage was last approved by township voters in 2006 when 1 mill generated $331,000 per year. Today that same 1 mill will net $264,182 based on information from the assesor's office. The cost to township property owners is $50 per year based on $100,000 in value.

The loss of about $68,818 was absorbed without dipping into the township coffers, said Shirley Kautman-Jones, township supervisor.

"Our township fire chief, (Fred Forys) is a money miser and through his close attention to details was able to continue the service," she said. "He can't stop the loss in funding—you just have to be a good manager. The fire department responds to calls in the community and is able to assist other communities. Fires are unpredictable—they may have one or 100 during a month's time. But when the alarm goes they have to go."

Jones said that the department, which consists of about 30 paid on-call firefighters, needs a new tanker truck and an ATV for off-road rescues in remote areas where terrain is difficult to get over.

"No doubt money for the township general fund will be necessary to help pay the costs of the new equipment," she said.

Over the next two years the township fire hall will be fully paid off—two payments remain— $54,000 in 2012 and $64,000 in 2013.

"When the bond is paid off that will free up some cash for other expenses," she said.