Plans to build a permanent fire station in Dexter Township took a big leap forward on Tuesday.
The Dexter Township Board of Trustees voted unanimously to approve ballot language for a proposal asking residents to help fund the station's construction through a public safety millage. The township is asking voters to approve 1 mill up to seven years. For a house with a taxable value of $100,000, the owner would pay $100 for each year of the millage.
"For a lot of our residents, I would venture to assume that the cost is less than an average family's monthly cell phone or cable bill, and in exchange we're providing better protection for our recreational and dense areas of the township," clerk Harley Rider said.
Resident Jim Drolett, a , asked the board if the township would have to borrow money to fund the station.
According to information provided by the board, the station is expected to cost between $1.2 and $1.6 million, excluding purchase of land.
If voters approve the millage, it would bring in $287,000 in revenue during fiscal year 2012-2013 based on current taxable values of homes in the township. Supervisor Pat Kelly said the township's general fund and fire fund could also be tapped to help defray building and operational costs.
"I don't forsee us having to borrow money, but that's always an option," Kelly said.
Trustee Carl Lesser said he's not in favor of building the new station.
"Why do we need to do this so quickly and have all of us old-timers pay for something else?" he asked. "I am reluctantly voting yes, but I think there's too many people who take advantage of the 911 system. It's about personal responsibility."
Trustee Jason Maciejewski said he feels a lot safer having a permanent station in the township.
"Our run data shows response times have been cut down significantly since we opened the temporary station, that alone makes it worth it in my mind," he said. "Because this millage will be levied up to seven years, the best case scenaro may be that we don't need to collect anything in years five, six or seven."
In 2010, the township funded a temporary substation on North Territorial Road for the Dexter Area Fire Department (DAFD) at a cost of $47,000 after the PSAC recommended establishing a substation at the Multi-Lakes Sewer Authority. The substation was installed following a decision to have the DAFD cover the entire township. In years prior, DAFD, as well as the Putnam Fire Department and Chelsea Area Fire Authority provided service to residents.
In 2011, to fund police and fire services. Voters gave the nod to a 1.4856 mil levy for 24-hour Washtenaw County Sheriff’s deputies.That equals to roughly $148.56 per year for homeowners who own a $100,000 house. Residents also approved a 1.7 mill fire levy. For a homeowner with a $100,000 home, it costs about $170 per year.
Voter approved millages are levied on the winter tax bills. Construction of the new station could begin as early as 2013.