Saugatuck Township Fire District Seeks Millage Increase For 2014-'15 Fiscal Year
Currently operating with 1.3 mills, the Saugatuck Township Fire District (STFD) wants to up the ante to 1.5 mills ($1.50 per $1,000 of
taxable value) in its proposed annual budget for its next fiscal year, 2014-2015.
The Douglas City Council approved that millage request increase when it approved the fire department’s $566, 964 budget at its Monday night meeting.
The current STFD fiscal year ends in June with the new one starting in July.
“It is a pretty modest increase; we may have to talk about whether that is enough. I think that it is the right decision (for now),” said Douglas City Manager Bill LeFevere of the millage increase proposal for next year.
In the 2001/2002 fiscal year, the STFD millage was 1.60, then it progressively dropped during the following years until it began increasing again in the 2013/2014 year to 1.3 mills.
The new proposed increase of 0.2 mills will result in an increase in revenues of $50,000 for the fire department over the next 10 years, STFD representatives said Monday.
To take effect, the budget will also have to be reviewed and approved by the other two members of the fire district: the City of Saugatuck and Saugatuck Township.
Millage requests do not go before the electorate of the district. Instead, it is given the green light by virtue of the budget-approval process that goes before each governing body of each municipal member of the district, Hank Zavislak, the Douglas representative in the STFD Board, explained to council.
He described the budget proposal as a “proactive approach,” to increasing the department’s operating revenues to a level sufficient for the department’s needs.
The department is also proposing a capital budget of $187,558, allowing for better budget planning as it relates to the acquisition and maintenance of machinery and facilities.
“As you know, the fire equipment is a lot more expensive than DPW (Department of Public Works) equipment,” said Zavislak.
STFD recently purchased a 102-foot ladder truck - 1999 model - costing $195,0000.
The department is also mulling over a fire boat project. The fire board feels that if the department is to have a fire boat, it ought to be properly equipped and capable of fire and rescue activities.
In its current condition, the large boat the department currently has does not meet requirements.