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Editorial: Milton Twp. returning to SMCAS makes sense

Published 10:40pm Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Milton Township faces two momentous decisions at 7 p.m. Monday about the future direction for ambulance and fire coverage.

Niles-based Southwestern Michigan Community Ambulance Service could be making Milton an offer it can’t refuse.

In offering to retrofit the 1986 community center next to the township hall at 32097 Bertrand St. with living quarters, SMCAS would put itself at a competitive 24/7 advantage to current provider Edwardsburg Ambulance Service with proximity to most calls.

Residences have been charged $20, which would continue for eight years, but businesses which previously paid nothing will also face such an assessment going forward. The township is addressing various contracts to clean up language discrepancies, which developed over time.
Milton voters will be asked to support a fire protection mill on the Aug. 7 primary ballot. The township board has been dividing property tax revenue between 42-square-mile Niles Charter Township, which responds west of Gumwood Road, and Edwardsburg Fire Department, east of Gumwood, along school district boundaries.

Discussion June 11 seemed to give response advantage to Niles, capable of dispatching a truck within two minutes from a staffed station.

Edwardsburg takes seven to 11 minutes because volunteers respond from home, Fire Chief Bruce Stack said.

If voters veto the fire mill, the township board would need to compensate with cuts elsewhere in future years, such as roads. Milton is not required to provide fire protection, though that has not been given serious consideration.

Ultimately, it’s a business decision as to which direction will best serve the residents of the Cass County township.

This editorial represents the views of the editorial board.

  •!/kbtonkin Kevin Tonkin

    Halting Niles Township from subsidizing Milton Township for fire coverage is long overdue. NT tax payers pay far more for their protection than MT and it needs to stop! Just like NT residents paying for city supplied water who pay 3-4 times NT residents pay for water supplied by NT. There is a reason for that and the same reason why MT should pay more than NT taxpayers for fire protection. MT needs to bare a fair portion of the capitol costs too and not just O&M. Mutual aid is one thing but when there is no MT where’s the mutual aid?

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