By Lynne Beauchamp,

Chelsea Area Fire Authority (CAFA) will be seeking a millage renewal or increase for 2018-2023 operations as the current millage will be expiring.

CAFA Fire Chief Rob Arbini presented to Lyndon Township Board members during its regular board meeting July 11 options under considered for this millage request.

Arbini said CAFA’s millage committee is looking at three different options for the 2018-2023 millage and seeking citizen and municipality input on which way to go. In a report presented by Arbini and prepared by CAFA, one option is to renew the current millage rate of 1.8 mills for operations.


Arbini said that, according to audit reports of CAFA’s general fund balance, CAFA has operated at a deficit in 2012-2015. He said, while the department has received grant funding for equipment and training and will continue to apply grants, there is no guarantee of this type of funding. Will the current rate of 1.8 mills be enough?

No, according to CAFA’s auditor Arbini said.

A second option is to ask for an increase to 2.1 mills. Arbini said this option would allow CAFA a capital replacement cost schedule for all of its vehicles and would significantly minimize deficit spending. He added this would save money over time on interest costs for vehicle financing and reduce truck maintenance costs.

Option three is to increase to 2.4 mills. Arbini said this option would allow for the capital replacement cost schedule and add an extra firefighter per shift.

“We are trying to give the boards and the citizens the opportunity to pick what kind of fire department they want,” said Tom Demske, Lyndon Township alternate representative to CAFA. “One that is funded as it is now, which is marginal; one that is properly funded with capital improvements or one with proper funding and properly staffed.”

Lyndon Township Supervisor, Marc Keezer, said he would get the opinions from board members on which option the board felt was best suited for the millage and report back to Arbini.

“I have an opinion on how I would like to see it go but I am in no position to say that,” said Arbini. “…however it comes out, I will manage it to the best of my ability”.

At this point, Lyndon Township board members have not made an official decision on whether or not it will withdraw from CAFA. Earlier this year, the township voted in favor of giving notice to CAFA of its potential withdraw. According to Keezer, the township continues to explore options for fire service.