Cost and proposal need to be done for new addition

Letter to the Editor:

Big Rapids Township:

If you are a township tax payer, you are playing 1.5 mills for fire protection.

The township will have accumulated approximately $394,000 in their Capital Outlay Fund by the end of 2017. These funds have been accumulating from 2013 through 2017.

That is the equivalent of at least three years of operating funds. The township treasurer has control over how these funds are handled and has not invested any township monies. You know how much interest your checking account makes.

Maybe the right thing to do would be to cut back on the amount of what they levy to one mill or three quarters of a mill for a given period.

As an example, the county is able to access one mill for ambulance service, but only levies around six-tenths of a mill for normal operations.

The reason for the $394,000, the fire department and the supervisor want to build a 40X80 addition to the fire hall. This addition would be insulated, heating and lighting adding a large sum. The county recently built a pole barn of this size, bare bones, no insulation, no heat or lights for a cost $180,000. This gives you an idea of the sum of money required, in the neighborhood of $230,000? With a full-time fire department within two miles of our fire department, do we need a fire hall of this size?

With mutual aid in the county, the city department responds to any structural fire in the township, and in most cases, will be at the fire before our volunteers get to the fire hall and get our trucks moving. 

This did not come up before the recent election, as the board at the time did not support an addition to the fire hall. With four new trustees, I’m sure this will come before them soon.

While we elect these people to represent us to make decisions, we feel a decision of this magnitude should be made only after a proposal and actual costs be assembled, the wording of the information be approved by the township board and then sent out to all the township taxpayers for their approval or rejection. This would not be a vote of the taxpayers, but a recommendation to the township board.

Wayne O’Neil

Dave Hamelund

John Zimmerman

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