Milton Township switchesPublished 8:09pm Wednesday, June 20, 2012
By 3-2 votes, Milton Township Monday night selected Niles Charter Township for fire coverage and switched ambulance protection to Niles-based Southwestern Michigan Community Ambulance Service (SMCAS).
The ambulance motion notifies current provider Edwardsburg Ambulance Service that effective March 31, Milton will go with SMCAS, which will retrofit the 1986 community center next to the township hall at 32097 Bertrand St. with living quarters and put itself in close proximity to most calls.
Supervisor Robert Benjamin, Clerk Eric Renken and Trustee Don Kronewitter voted for the change, which Treasurer Linda DeBroka and Trustee Sharon Ward opposed.
Milton’s board set a special meeting for 6:30 p.m. July 23 to establish the ambulance assessment.
Residences have been charged $20, which would continue for eight years, but businesses which previously paid nothing also face such an assessment going forward.
Milton voters will be asked to support a fire service mill on the Aug. 7 primary ballot. The township has been dividing property tax revenue between 42-square-mile Niles Charter Township, which responds west of Gumwood Road, and Edwardsburg Fire Department, east of Gumwood, along school district boundaries.
Discussion June 11 gave response advantage to Niles, capable of dispatching a truck within two minutes from a staffed station.
Edwardsburg takes seven to 11 minutes because volunteers respond from home.
In the 3-2 fire vote, DeBroka, Renken and Kronewitter supported entering into formal negotiations with Niles Charter Township. Benjamin and Ward voted against.
The board approved Catherine Kaufman as township attorney, replacing her law partner, John Lohrstorfer.
Candidates attending the meeting included Cass County Treasurer Linda Irwin; First Deputy Clerk-Register Monica Kennedy, who is seeking to succeed Barbara Runyon, who did not seek re-election; and Water Resources Commissioner Bruce Campbell.