By Lynne Beauchamp, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Dexter Area Fire Department (DAFD) Administration Board presented an option for discussion on cost allocation for the DAFD during its regular board meeting April 19.
Currently, according to DAFD Chairperson and Dexter Township Supervisor Harley Rider, DAFD is funded through an inter-local agreement between Webster Township, Dexter Township and the City of Dexter. Each municipality pays for a percentage of the runs in that municipality, excluding mutual aid runs. The runs are based upon the previous year’s DAFD runs within the municipality.
Funding for the DAFD comes from Webster Township’s public safety millage, Dexter Township’s fire service millage and the City of Dexter’s general fund.
In November 2017, Webster Township residents approved (by five votes) a public safety millage of 3.4 mills that funds a contract with Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) and services from DAFD. This was an increase of 1.4 mills and, according to Webster Township Supervisor John Kingsley, was necessary to avoid a projected public safety fund balance of $0 by the end of fiscal year 2019 for public safety.
Dexter Township will be seeking an increase in mills this August to continue funding fire service. The current millage for fire service expires 2018 (see related story Dexter Township will seek police and fire service millage this August).
Discussed at the DAFD Administration Board meeting was the possibility of replacing the run based funding formula of DAFD with a cost allocation fund formula based upon 30% of the state equalized value (SEV) of property in the municipality, 30% based on the population in the municipality and 40% based on runs in the municipality.
Rider said Webster Township has the highest population and SEV of the three municipalities, while Dexter City has the lowest in population and SEV.
Based on this formula, using existing data, over a six year period Webster Township could see an increase in fire service funding of more than $100,000, Dexter Township could see an increase in fire service funding of $30,000 and the City of Dexter could see a decrease in funding for fire service of more than $100,000.
“It really comes down to all three municipalities coming up with something we can agree on,” said Rider on municipalities equally funding the DAFD.
No decision by the fire board was made at this time, as Rider said the topic of DAFD cost allocation was discussed to get a future idea of how the municipalities involved felt about changing the formula, a starting point for further discussion and for him to meet with Kingsley and Keough for further discussion.
“The whole situation [DAFD funding] is rather complicated, there is nothing easy about it,” said Rider in a later interview. “If it was, we would have done it a long time ago.”