MUSSEY TWP. — Township and village residents will head to the polls on Tuesday, August 4, to decide the fate of a fire millage proposal.
Up for renewal is a five year half (.5) mill which the fire department uses for equipment purchases and upkeep. It will generate about $60,000 a year.
This is the first year the township is requesting the renewal since instituting the half mill five years ago. The department's operating funds come from one mill of tax monies.
Firefighters say passage of the millage is crucial on many levels.
Mussey Twp. firefighter K.C. Leonard (center) chats with open house visitors last Friday at the fire hall. On Tuesday, Aug. 4, the department seeks support of a half mill equipment millage. photo by Maria Brown.
"We can't maintain our level of service without renewing it," Assistant Fire Chief Bill Stoutenburg said.
The money will likely be used to refurbish their trucks, Stoutenburg and Chief Don Standel said. The oldest is 15 years old and will need to be restored or replaced by the time it reaches 20 years.
If it's not possible to keep their trucks in working order, Stoutenburg said the fire department will lose credit with the Insurance Services Office (ISO) and possibly see their ISO rating fall. ISO ratings are used to determine homeowner insurance. Currently, Mussey's fire department has the highest rating—a 5—that a part-time department could have, which positively influences insurance rates.
Stoutenburg said he estimates the half mill costs himself and other average homeowners about $40 a year.
In addition to Mussey Twp., the fire department contracts to cover portions of Lynn and Emmett townships, in all they're responsible for 60 square miles and its population of 5,000. The 33 member force includes certified medical first responders, emergency medical technicians and paramedics. They receive about 120 calls per year.
St. John's Lutheran Church is the polling location. Votes can be cast from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Absentee ballots are also available from the Mussey Twp. offices by calling 395-4915. Clerk Sheila McDonald said absentee applications are also available online at www.musseytwp.org/elections.php.