Saline Fire Department Requests More Money from Townships, City

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The Saline Township Board wrapped up its business in thirty-five minutes at its meeting Wednesday evening. The meeting consisted entirely of regular reports of township business. The agenda item that included the most conversation concerned the Saline Fire Board and its ongoing funding woes.

SALINE FIRE BOARD:

Township Supervisor Jim Marion reported that at the October meeting of the Saline Area Fire Board, the fire department requested more funding from the City of Saline and Saline, Lodi and York Townships. 

“At the meeting, the department said they needed additional money,” said Supervisor Marion. Supervisor Marion asked the other Fire Board member representing Saline Township, Robert Marion, to offer additional details.

“There really wasn’t anything specific said, just that the fire department needs more money,” Robert Marion said. “They are debating how to do it and some different ideas were mentioned, but there wasn’t anything final or decided.”

One of the possible funding mechanisms presented was assessing costs based on the number of streets located within the city or township. There was no clarification of how such an approach would be determined. ‘There is going to be a lot more conversation about this going forward,” Robert Marion said.

The funding needs of the fire department come at a time when the City of Saline and all three townships are struggling with very tight budgets. The problem is especially acute in the City of Saline, which recently assessed much higher rates for water and sewer services for the residents of the city. The City of Saline began assessing part of the voter-approved fire levy on city residents this year.

Marion also mentioned that Lodi raised the possibility of a sub-station being built and located within Lodi Township. While that would improve the service to the residents of Lodi Township, which is the most populous township receiving fire services from Saline, it has the potential of further stressing the cost issues of the department.

ANDELINA FARMS:

Dan Cabage, consulting engineer for the township, reported that work is continuing on Phase II of the development. MI Homes said that it is waiting for approval from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) for the water and sewer lines for Phase II. They hope to begin to pave the roads for Phase II before winter weather arrives. Cabage reported that home sales in the development continue to be brisk.

Cabage reported that talks between the City of Saline and MI Homes continue. “There is nothing definite, but they are keeping the communication open.” 

The Saline Township Master Plan allowed for Andelina Farms to be annexed into the City of Saline under a 425 Agreement but the city declined to move forward with that agreement, citing inability to meet the terms of a deal due to the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

WASHTENAW COUNTY BROADBAND INITIATIVE:

Township Clerk Kelly Marion reported that having broadband available to all parts of the County is moving forward but Saline Township will be the last area to be completed. She said that broadband should be available to all township residents by 2025.

AMY SONTAG INTRODUCES HERSELF TO BOARD:

Amy Sontag, a resident of Saline Township, is a candidate for the Saline Area Schools Board of Education. She briefly talked about herself and her goals if she is elected to the school board.

The meeting adjourned at 7:35 p.m. The next township board meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 9, at the Saline Township Hall located on Braun Road.

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