Dexter Township residents may be asked to vote for a public safety millage to help fund a permanent fire station and an outdoor tornado warning system in the township during the general election in November.
The township board directed Dominic Tregalia, chairman of the Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC), to draft a proposal outlining how much it would cost to fund a permanent fire station in the township during its meeting on Tuesday.
"I think a permanent substation is in the best interest of this community," Tregalia said. "The run data shows that having the temporary substation has been effective and the response time has greatly been reduced. I know that I'm thankful if I have an emergency, someone will respond right away."
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 to improve response times for the township's residents. 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.
"The temporary substation is exactly that — temporary. If the board decided to put a millage on the November ballot, that would put the firefighters in the trailer for two and a half years before an actual station is built. Anything beyond the November ballot is just extending that time," Tregalia said. "Given the response from our fire department when the , I believe the DAFD's substation 2 has proven itself vital to the township."
Township Supervisor Pat Kelly said aiming for the November ballot is ideal, as presidential election years draw the most voters to the polls.
Township Clerk Harley Rider said he would like to see a draft proposal on a cost estimate before moving forward.
"Assuming that the PSAC members can bring a proposal to us for a first and second review, can this considerably be done in two months? I don't want any indication to the voters that we rushed through the process just to get this on the ballot," he said. "We don't need to pick the interior trim, but I'd like to have a general idea of what the cost will be as soon as possible so we can determine the millage rate."
If the board decides to move forward, it has until August to draft language for the November ballot.