Niles Township approves state-outlined poverty guidelines, purchases tractor attachment for trails, considers firefighter applicants

NILES TOWNSHIP – Poverty guidelines for Niles Township were adjusted and accepted Monday evening by the township board members. Members also discussed and approved a tractor attachment purchase, as well as discussed the hiring progress for a full-time firefighter hire within the Niles Charter Township Fire Department.

Clerk Terry Eull said the fire department has eight applications for the open full-time firefighter that will be left by acting-chief Tim Jesswein, as his contract is being negotiated for the fire chief position. The board voted to hire Jesswein on Feb. 16, though contract negotiations continue.

“All eight of them are existing township [department] volunteers,” Eull said.

Eull said Jesswein will be moving forward to ensure the applicants can pass the physical agility test required.

“We know these men. It’s all men at this point,” Eull said. “As we move forward with the tests, [the safety committee] will keep the board updated.”

Treasurer Jim Ringler also updated the board members on Jesswein getting quotes for new firefighting gear for the department.

Ringler said the items were likely the “highest priority items” for the department. Jesswein got the equipment cost quoted and was forwarding the information to the board members.

“We’ve got two weeks to look at it,” Ringler said.

The amount of 26 sets of turnout gear was quoted around $80,000 for the department.

During the meeting, the board passed the poverty guidelines resolution for 2021.

According to Clerk Terry Eull, the state of Michigan sets the guidelines. The guidelines layout who may be considered for a tax exemption.

In Resolution 21-05, it states the total taxes owed must be at least $500 for a person to be considered for an exemption, as well be the owner and occupier of a property where the exemption is requested. Steps are laid out in the resolution, including filing a hardship exemption application with the assessor or board of review, having the deed, land contract or evidence of property ownership of property being requested to be exempt due to poverty income guidelines.

The applications must be filed before the last day of the Board of Review.

Niles Township is holding its first meeting date for Board of Review on March 10.

For 2021 Income poverty guidelines in Niles township, a family of four meets annual poverty guidelines at an income level of $53,000.

The board also approved the purchase of a Trailblazer tractor attachment to be used in trail maintenance. The piece attaches to an existing tractor, and helps in trimming back overgrowth of brush and branches to keep a trail clear.

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