Moffatt millage holds critical funding for department’s future
Tim Barnum Staff writer
MOFFATT TOWNSHIP — On Aug. 5 a renewal of a Moffatt Township Fire Department millage failed by two votes — 128 to 126.
But on Nov. 4, the fate of the same ballot proposal, which calls for a 2-mill assessment from 2008-2011, equaling roughly $84,000 per year, is going to be in the hands of the voters for the second time in only a few months.
“It’s (fire department millage) for all of our operations. … all the expenses that the fire department incurs,” said Moffatt Township Supervisor and Assis-tant Fire Chief Dennis Spencer.
And a failure of the millage again, according to Spencer, would slow down the purchase of a new truck the department wants to buy to replace a 1971 fire truck and could affect operations in the future if the department has to rely on its general fund, which Spencer says contains between $50,000 and $60,000 after a $300,000 renovation to the Moffatt Township Fire Department last year and ex-penses throughout 2008.
“In a year’s time we could deplete that (general fund monies) quite extensively just with routine maintenance (without the millage),” Spencer said. “For the next year we will be running on a very tight budget. ... We do have enough funding in our fire department at the current time to operate for another year.”
But after that year, Spencer says the fire department would be in a desperate financial situation.
Spencer says the wording of the proposal, from August to now, has changed slightly, but still calls for a renewal of a longstanding township assessment.
“This is not an increase to the tax bill,” Spencer said, emphasizing this millage is a renewal and not a new tax being imposed on township residents.
The new proposal isn’t lowering the tax bill, though, either, he says, as the fire department determined the millage should stay at two mills even though it was voted down earlier this election cycle.
“With expenses and stuff the way things are we didn’t look at it like our department was going to grow if we dropped it (amount assessed),” Spencer said. “It would be foolish to go backwards.
“We don’t borrow against the future we save for our future,” Spencer added. “We build for the future. We bank our money.”
Read the whole story in the Oct. 8 edition of "The Arenac County Independent."