SMCAS increase accepted by Howard Township

Published 6:39 am Wednesday, June 22, 2005

By By EMILY DREITZLER / Niles Daily Star
NILES - The $3 increase in the ambulance assessment was a hot topic at the Howard Township Board meeting, held Tuesday evening.
Marlene Beach, a representative from SMCAS, addressed the Board of Trustees asking to raise the SMCAS assessment from $10 to $13, which Niles Township recently accepted.
Beach addressed the trustees' questions regarding the need for the increase by stating that SMCAS recently received an unfunded mandate from the state requiring that SMCAS provide a variety of statistics, effective in January 2007.
In order to properly report these statistics without hiring another individual, SMCAS must install software and hardware into each of their ambulance units totaling approximately $160,000. If SMCAS does not comply with the state's request, they are in danger of being shut down.
Beach also cited the low reimbursements from Medicaid, 34 cents for every dollar, and Medicare, 50 cents for every dollar, as additional reasons for the increased assessment.
The Board of Trustees considered the request by SMCAS and after much deliberation passed the motion to increase the assessment for 2005-2006 by a vote of 4-2.
A representative from Senator Ron Jelinek's office addressed the Board of Trustees with a variety of updates from the state.
The representative stated that the budget has been a huge issue the state has been working on and they hope to be close to the completion of the state budget by June 30.
In regard to education, the shrinking enrollment throughout the state of Michigan has been a big concern. In conjunction with education, the representative stressed that with unemployment currently at 7.1 percent, an educated workforce is an important factor to help alleviate such a startling statistic.
When asked by a member of the board where the state lottery money is being distributed, the representative stated that 38 cents for every dollar goes back to the schools, a portion goes to the winner, and a portion goes to the retailer. Michigan is no. 2 in total gaming behind Nevada.
In other business, the Board of Trustees also addressed and passed several motions including two separate requests for the splitting of various pieces of land within Howard Township; an amendment to the zoning ordinances that Howard Township previously published, including sending the ordinances to the planning commission for review; a new member appointed to the Park Board, and the approval of new optical scan voting equipment mandated by the state.