2011-09-01 / Front Page

City rescinds first approved fire budget, OKs new one

BY AMANDA BRANIECKI 810-452-2647  abraniecki@mihomepaper.com

GRAND BLANC — The City of Grand Blanc held a special meeting Aug. 24 rescinding its previously approved fire commission budget in favor of a new budget.

On Aug. 10, the city council unanimously passed a fire budget with three caveats that were not included in the budget the Grand Blanc Township Board of Trustees passed on June 9.

In the City's previously approved budget, they called for $15,000 to be set aside for a building maintenance fund, $15,000 to be set aside by the city for a reserve fund and extending the depreciation schedule for fire trucks from 20 to 25 years.

Both the Fire Commission and township agreed to the one-time $15,000 building maintenance fund, but rejected the $15,000 reserve fund and extending the trucks replacement cycle to 25 years.

The Fire Commission met on Aug. 23 with officials from the township and city present to discuss the issues preventing the fire department from moving forward with implementing and providing services, such as more full-time firefighters and reduced response times, prom- ised to residents in both the city and township upon their approval of the millage in November.

City Manager Paul Brake said the discussions were “fruitful” and that he felt both municipalities gained an understanding of where the other stood on the topic.

After the discussions, the city called a special meeting on Aug. 24 in which the council unanimously approved to rescind its previously approved 2011 fire budget and approved a new budget without a $15,000 reserve fund and keeping the depreciation cycle for fire trucks at 22 years, as previously recommended by the fire commission, with the stipulation that the fire commission would review and make amendments to its budget throughout the year to keep it balanced.

Despite the progress made at the special meeting, City Mayor Michael Matheny said he was unhappy with comments made by township officials stating the city was stalling the process by not approving the fire budget sooner.

“Some people would like to say it was a delay tactic. It was anything but a delay tactic,” Matheny said. “We are doing due diligence for our citizens and actually we are doing due diligence for the citizens of both the city and township, regardless of what is said by the township trustees. Believe me, we did what we should do. We did the job right.”

The township board was entertaining talks of a dissolution of the joint city-township fire commission if an agreement between the two municipalities could not be reached.

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