October 24, 2014

Voters to decide on AuGres-Sims-Whitney Fire millage

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AuGres — On Aug. 3 voters will decide whether or not to renew the AuGres-Sims-Whitney Fire and Rescue Authority millage.

This is the first renewal since the AuGres-Sims department merged with the Whitney department around four years ago.

“Technically the millage is listed as a new millage, but it’s basically a renewal,” Fire Chief Kurt Humerickhouse said.

He said currently the millage is operating just below one mill and is a benefit to the community.

“Living within a five mile radius of the station lowers a homeowner’s (insurance) fire rating,” he said. “The lower the number, the better the cost.”

Humerickhouse said the millage will not increase because of the merger.

“What (money) the millage brings in is more than adequate,” he said.

Humerickhouse said without the millage the department would suffer and may not be able to stay fully operational.

“We would not have anything to operate under,” he said. “We would still find a way to get equipment, but insurance for homeowners in the area would go up.”

Currently, the AuGres-Sims-Whitney Fire Department is entirely comprised of volunteers working at two stations.

“We currently have 29 volunteers working at the stations,” Humerickhouse said.

He said that money for the millage goes to the fire authority board; from there, they decide where it is best to spend the money.

“ The money goes to things like repairs and new equipment,” Humerickhouse said.

He said that the department provides a number of services to the area, including fire, ice, and water rescue.

“Last year we responded to 95 calls, between January and December,” Humerickhouse said. “This year we are up to 55 calls.”

If the millage is paid and levied this year, it is expected to raise around $226,000.

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