On Oct. 6 Meridian Township Board discussed the sale of the Central Fire Station at 2150 Clinton St. and The MARC at 4675 Okemos Road. Township Manager Frank Walsh brought everyone up to date about the details of when construction might begin and said Evergreen Companies was the best deal. The deal, which was set to be signed by Township Clerk Brett Dreyfus and Township Supervisor Elizabeth LeGoff on Oct.1, is now null and void because LeGoff has been ill.
Firefighters served up more than food Oct. 10 at the sixth annual pancake breakfast and open house at the fire station at 1296 W. Grand River Ave. The event’s purpose was to teach about fire prevention as part of national fire prevention week. It also raised money for the Williamston Firemen’s Association, said Tony Worth, president of the group. The money buys new equipment for the department and is donated to organizations such as the food bank.
In celebration of fire prevention week, the Williamston Firemen’s Association is hosting the 6th annual pancake breakfast and open house on Saturday, Oct. 10. Between 8 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., members of the association will serve all-you-can-eat pancakes with scrambled eggs, sausage, hash browns, orange juice, milk and coffee at the NIESA/Williamston Fire Station, 1296 W. Grand River Ave. “It’s a fundraiser for the association, (which) uses it to buy equipment for the department,” said Capt. Scott Cochrane. “We also give money to local charities like the food bank.”
Tickets are $6 for adults, $4 for children under 12 or $20 per family.
Intermodal Policy Section Manager for the Michigan Department of Transportation Rob Balmes provided a brief overview of Proposal 1 at the March 16 City Council Meeting detailing main changes taxpayers will witness if the Proposal is passed. “Proposal 1,” Balmes said, “will increase sales tax from 6 to 7 percent, while exempting fuel purchases, if approved by a vote to amend the Michigan Constitution May 5. Sent to ballot by the House and the Senate, Proposal 1 would trigger a series of other laws designed to maximize new investments on road funding and minimize growing tax burdens for low-income residents, Balmes said. According to Balmes, Proposal 1 would generate about $1.25 billion a year for state and local road agencies by 2018, and another $200 million a year to schools, $111 million for cities, $116 million for mass transit and $173 million for the state general fund. Balmes outlined the 10 pieces of legislation Proposal 1 offers Michigan people if passed on May 5.
The community gathered for the groundbreaking ceremony for the township’s new Central Fire Station on Tuesday, March 31. The township board of trustees approved the bid for the fire station, located off the corner of Okemos Road and Central Park Drive, earlier in March, despite some controversy. Fire Chief Fred Cowper said that the problems nearby condominium residents had with the fire station will no longer complicate its future. Cowper said, “It’s the visible beginning, the new milestone in the journey of our fire department. What happened in the past is in the past and we move forward—that’s the way I look at it.
After years of lawsuits and court rulings, plans for the Central Fire Station construction are moving forward. The Meridian Township project has been on hold since 2012 after residents of the neighboring condominium complex sued the township in hopes of receiving a court order to stop progress on the site. “Now we’re waiting for the Michigan Supreme Court,” Meridian Township Treasurer Julie Brixie said. “The (condominium residents) have appealed the decision, but we have won all the way up and we’re waiting for the Supreme Court to reject it.”
Although there has not been an answer from the Michigan Supreme Court, the project is allowed to move forward because the court order to stop any progress was not granted to the residents of Autumn Park condominiums.
“When I arrived here to be the fire chief in 1998, some of the first things I looked at were equipment, the chain of command and the fire station replacement as one of the top priorities,” Fire Chief Fred Cowper said. “So we now have put a lot of work and effort in making that happen.”
The new Central Fire Station will be at the corner of Okemos Road and Central Park Drive, and includes space for the fire department’s administrative offices, new living areas for firefighters and will be up to “green” standards.
The initiative is headlined by a Mutual Aid Box Alarm System, a Joint Arson Task Force, and Blue Card training, which have all been set in place within the past year. The automatic mutual aid system spans political and geographical borders by sending the closest unit to emergencies. “MABAS is a closest-unit response system. It provides all personnel needed and is pre-scripted throughout the entire county to be efficient and safe,” said Delhi Township Fire Chief Brian Ball. “MABAS organizes the response by what resources are available and it sets the game plan for public safety,” said Delta Township Fire Chief John Clark.
Three Mason firefighters were recognized on Oct. 6 for rescuing a woman from a burning building. At the City Council meeting, firefighters Scott Davidson, Jacob Meyers and Joshua Woodland were asked to accept plaques describing their heroic feat. Mayor Leon Clark presented each plaque to them. Along with the plaque, they were each given a day of the year that Mason would recognize.
Township voters strongly endorsed tax renewals that provide substantial funding for fire and police services on Tuesday. The Fire department proposal passed with 71 percent of votes in favor, and the Police department proposal passed with 69 percent of votes, according to unofficial results from Ingham County. Read more here.
Delhi Township Clerk Evan Hope said the current fire and police tax rates of 1.5 mills, which expire at the end of 2014, were voted for in 2010 to counter the drop in state aid due to the recession of Michigan’s economy from 2007 to 2009. The owner of a $100,000 home is taxed $75 annually for each department, a total of $150 a year for public safety. This rate would remain the same if the issues are approved. Hope said the millage has been extremely helpful to the departments. The rates have generated $1 million toward both of the departments’ operating costs.