Firefighters take issue with editorial on downtown fire hall
As a member of the Almont Fire Department I would like to make a comment concerning your last week's "Our Opinion" column. Your title "Taxpayers have already spoken over fire hall" is a very true statement. The taxpayers spoke and the township board chose not to listen to them. Before the purchase of the property for the new fire station there was a petition signed by several hundred taxpayers asking the township board to look at different properties and evaluate them all. This petition was ignored by the township board.
In your column you stated that there were time studies done, traffic studies done and safety of the taxpayers and firefighters and response time taken into consideration by the committee members. To my knowledge none of these activities have been done. We as firefighters have and will always be concerned about the safety of the citizens of Almont.
The fire department has been sitting patiently waiting for our new home. There isn't a day that goes by that the three officers that were on the original building committee get hounded by us asking "When are we moving?" "When will the building be complete?" We have been spending our money on storage for over a year now. This was not budgeted money.
The fire department has had very little say in matters in the last year. The township board has been the lead on this, not the committee that was formed.
The whole idea behind keeping the old station open would be to evaluate it and see how the response time is affected by the new station. It is the firemen that get to hear the complaining when someone thinks it took them too long to get there. A $5,000 price seems kind of small if it saves a life or saves property.
As we write this we are still wondering when we will be able to move in. Like we have been hearing from the township board for the last year we will be in "very soon."
We feel that the fire department has been getting a bad rap for something that is out of our control.
We would like to let the taxpayers know that we will always be concerned with life and property safety for them.
Editor's note: Township officials on Monday announced that they had obtained a temporary certificate of occupancy for the new fire hall. The request to keep the downtown Almont fire hall open was tabled.
Derek Stine, Almont Fire Department
March 12, 2008