Lincoln Township dissolves fire board

By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium

STEVENSVILLE — Lincoln Township trustees voted to eliminate its fire board Tuesday night.

The move comes on a recommendation from a consultant hired in June to assess whether the township needed a full-time fire chief. While the assessor gave good reasons for a fire chief, he recommended trustees dissolve the fire board.

Out of the voting members, two trustees – Deb Peterson and Marc Florian – voted against ending the fire board’s tenure. Both trustees serve on the fire board.

“I feel we should keep some continuity until a fire chief is chosen,” Peterson said. “I think you would be leaving a hole in a line of communication between the fire department and the township.”

Lorain stressed concern over how finances would be handled until a new chief was chosen. Clerk Stacy Loar-Porter said she would handle anything that would come along, although a new fire chief would likely be hired by the end of the fiscal year.

Trustee Kevin Gillette said the township did the same thing 15 years ago with the police board, prior to hiring its first full-time police chief.

The fire board was created in March 2003 to assist in managing the township’s fire department. With the township in the process of hiring its first full-time fire chief, the newly created position would eliminate essentially all of the board’s responsibilities.

Finding a fire chief

Trustees approved the job description for the fire chief, along with an advertisement seeking applications.

Concerning advertising costs, the board elected to cut back on recommendations made by a consultant to only place ads in specific regions – rather than nationally.

The township was given a recommendation to not spend more than $1,200 for advertising. However, the board made a few more cuts to that figure.

“We saved a couple hundred dollars by going to one division, instead of nationally,” Loar-Porter said after the meeting. “We decided to only go with two weeks for online advertising instead of three, that also saved a couple hundred dollars.”

The township will advertise in the Great Lakes division for six weeks, which includes Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. They will advertise online for two weeks through www.firehouse.com.

Ads will be given to Michigan Chiefs Fire Association, Michigan Township Association and to The Herald-Palladium and the South Bend Tribune.

“It will run on our website as well as through the Michigan Municipal League,” Loar-Porter said.

Trustees also listened to Bob Harrison for Lake Michigan College’s proposed capital millage request for 0.48 mills that run for 10 years. The board was also given an audit report by Plante Moran and deemed fiscally sound.

The next board meeting is at 7 p.m. on Oct. 11 at township hall.

Contact Tony Wittkowski at twittkowski@TheHP.com or (269) 932-0358. Follow him on Twitter: @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on Sept. 15, 2016)
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