Lake tries for fire levy renewal

MILLBURY – Lake Township voters are being asked to renew one of three fire and EMS levies on Nov. 4.
Fire Chief Bruce Moritz said the five-year, 1-mill levy generates $223,860 annually for fire service for
the township, Walbridge and Millbury. It funds wages, vehicles, equipment, utilities at the two fire
stations, radios and daily operations.
Melanie Bowen, chairwoman of the Lake Township Trustees, said the levy is critical.
"It’s extremely important. They would be very, very lost without it," she said.
The levy money will specifically fund a new engine at the Walbridge station, Moritz said.
"We have a truck in Walbridge that’s approaching 20 years old. That’s going to need replacing,"
Moritz said.
The levies are the main funding sources for the fire department. The department has received some grants,
including an Assistance for Firefighters one that paid for 95 percent of new radios.
"We look for grants wherever possible to help us purchase other equipment," Moritz said.
Lake Township has about 45 firefighters who are paid on a "points" basis, for responding to
fires and other work. Moritz mostly considers them to be volunteers.
Costs for training and maintaining firefighters’ education has crept up in recent years, the chief said.

"Each firefighter, to get him fully trained where he needs to be, you’ve got about $2,000 invested
in him."
Firefighters train two nights a month.
The township had 1,079 runs in 2013. Moritz said 2014 is on pace for 1,100 runs.
At the polls, voters will be asked to renew the levy, bringing in the same amount of money and not
increasing taxes, he said. The current five-year levy expires Dec. 31.
"This is not a new tax. It’s a renewal," Moritz said. "There will come a day when they (a
fire/EMS levy) have to go up. Now is not the time."
The levy costs the owner of a $100,000 home $28 a year.
The Lake Township Trustees discussed all three fire/EMS levies in May as they were deciding if they
wanted to ask for a renewal on this one.
A 1990 EMS levy is 0.08 mills and generates approximately $122,000 per year. Renewing this at 1 mill for
a continuing period would generate $220,000 annually. A homeowner with a home valued at $100,000
currently pays $13 per year; a replacement would cost the homeowner $38 per year.
The 1990 fire/EMS levy is continuous and for 2 mills, and brings in approximately $304,000 annually. It
has been factored down to 1.08 mills. A homeowner with a home valued at $100,000 currently pays $34 a
year; a replacement levy would cost the homeowner $70 per year.