$20 SMCAS assessment continuedPublished 9:14pm Monday, May 21, 2012
Niles Charter Township became the fourth of Southwestern Michigan Community Ambulance Service’s six municipal owners to approve its 2012-2013 budget Monday night.
SMCAS’ assessment of $20 per occupied dwelling remains the same.
Tim Baker, assistant to the director, said spending is set each spring in advance of the June 30 fiscal year end.
“It’s approved by our SMCAS board,” Baker said, which then takes the nonprofit advanced life support ambulance service to Niles City, Buchanan City, Niles Township, Buchanan Township and Bertrand Township in Berrien County.
Bertrand Township’s review will be fifth on June 16, followed by Cass County’s Howard Township.
Executive Director Timothy Gray is in talks with Milton Township.
Board members said they heard SMCAS is replacing its six ambulances with $85,000 worth of new electronic cots for $42,000 thanks to savings and $10,000 trade-in of cots that are seven to eight years old.
“We got a really good deal,” Baker said. “We are not purchasing any new ambulances this year. The budget is tight, but balanced, with no changes in 26 percent Medicaid reimbursement and 52 percent Medicare reimbursement.”
Baker said power cots capable of lifting as much as 750 pounds helped SMCAS save $20,000 on workmen’s compensation-related injuries.
— Shelley Klug, executive director of Southwestern Michigan Economic Growth Alliance, said Pratt Industries will be requesting a personal property tax abatement at the June 18 meeting.
— Returning to a discussion tabled May 7, the board voted 6-1 for a resolution offered by Clerk Marge Durm-Hiatt to address problems in the last election cycle with political signs placed on township property, which can be removed by the township without prior notice.
Supervisor Jim Kidwell, who voted no, reiterated concern he is leery “of getting into a whole bunch of problems. For this board, which has people running against us, to go out and pull a political sign is asking for trouble. We could also be accused of discriminating against politicians when we have real estate signs and student painter signs posted out here.”