Township remains opposed to studyPublished 8:10am Wednesday, November 20, 2013
If a study is to be done on the pros and cons of combining the area’s ambulance and fire services, it won’t happen with the approval of Niles Charter Township.
At their regular meeting Monday, township trustees decided not to give their support in pursuing a state grant that would completely fund the study.
Trustees came to the same conclusion unanimously during a meeting Nov. 4. This time, however, the authors of the plan — Southwestern Michigan Community Ambulance Service director Tim Gray and Niles Fire Chief Larry Lamb — were present to answer questions.
Lamb said he and Gray began looking two years ago at possible ways to make the area’s ambulance and fire services more effective and cost efficient. The plan came out of that effort.
“This was a concept… a plan to show what our thoughts are. There is nothing set in stone,” Lamb said.
Gray said the study would determine if the plan makes sense. If it does, he said SMCAS and its owner municipalities would work together to determine how to proceed.
Trustees remained skeptical of the plan.
Township Clerk Terry Eull and trustee Chris Vella both said they felt like the township wasn’t involved in the process of creating the plan.
“I can’t support something we did not have a part in,” Eull said.
Gray said municipalities have had ample time to review the plan and Lamb apologized if anyone felt out of the loop.
“That was not the intent,” he said.
Gray and Lamb only need support from two municipalities to submit the application for the grant that would fund the study. They’ve been seeking support for the past couple months and have already received it from the City of Niles, City of Buchanan and Bertrand Township.
• Trustees unanimously approved a 12-year industrial facility tax abatement for R & M Manufacturing, which specializes in custom machining. The company says it will purchase more than $124,000 in new equipment and retain 14 employees. The company, located at 2424 N. 5th St., has been in Niles since 1947.
• Trustees tabled a motion that would allow SMCAS to independently pursue a line of credit without approval from its owner municipalities. Gray said the credit line would only be used for emergencies, not for day-to-day expenses. Township Treasurer Jim Ringler said they needed to present the issue to the township’s lawyer before a decision could be made.
Tags: Niles Charter Township