CRYSTAL TOWNSHIP — Efforts to build an addition to the Crystal Township Fire Department barn on Smith Street can finally make some headway – as long as township voters allow it to happen.
Fire Chief Lonnie Fitzpatrick asked the Crystal Township Board in the fall of 2011 that money from the township’s fire millage be spent to build an addition to department’s fire barn so more vehicles could be stored at the facility.
Under the current four-year fire millage, approved by voters on Aug 3, 2010, monies from the millage cannot be spent on the barn because the wording of the millage does not include the option to spend on capitol improvements.
Crystal Township Board members voted Wednesday night to approve a new resolution of the millage, allowing for money to be spent on capitol improvements, but that resolution must be approved when the millage is up for renewal during regular Montcalm County primary election on Aug. 7.
“The previous millage does not allow money to be used to build a new addition to the fire hall,” Clerk Bob Naumann said. “The millage currently only allows for general operating and equipment, but doesn’t allow money to be spent on capitol improvements. This (new) language will allow that.”
Fitzpatrick said that currently, because there is not enough room for storage when trucks are not in operation during the winter months, excess vehicles must be stored in his pole barn on his own personal properly.
“We’re doing this is because during the winter we have two trucks that sit over at my place,” Fitzpatrick said. “We need to get them all under one roof and to be able to have our rescue truck where it’s readily available.”
If the new resolution is voted through in August, the township board would no longer levy the 1 mill fire millage approved by township voters on Aug. 3, 2010, for the remaining two years of the authorized levy for 2012 and 2013.
The new annual fire millage would be at the same rate as the 1.0 mill ($1 per $1,000 of taxable value) passed in 2010, and would last for four years, from 2012 through 2015.
Board members stressed that the only change in the millage is in how the money will be spent. No additional taxes will be increased or decreased.
“It’s not going to be an increase in the millage or an increase in the taxes, the only reason we’re doing this is because we want to put an addition onto the fire barn,” Supervisor Charlie Braman said.
The millage would raise an estimated $90,231 for the first year of the levy, almost all of which would be spent on the addition to the fire barn.
If the new millage is approved in August, the township board will then vote on a new addition of the fire barn once members are presented with a plan for construction by the fire department.