Ballot language approved for 2 millage proposals

ALPENA – The Alpena County Finance Committee approved the ballot language for a pair of millage requests that will be on the Aug. 5 ballot.

The committee recommends to the full board the proposal for a renewal of the county ambulance service millage that will be for no more than 0.9720 mills for six years. It also will recommend the language for the Older Persons millage be accepted. The millage for the seniors will be for 0.5394 for each $1,000 of equalized value on property for four years. There also will be an additional renewal request for restoration for 0.55 mill.

The two renewal requests come on the heals of the Alpena County Youth and Recreation Committee announcing it also will seek a four-year, half mill renewal of the recreation millage.

Germaine Stoppa, chairperson of the older persons committee, said the money will be used to provide people 60 years and older services and recreation opportunities.

“It will go for social, legal, health, housing, educational, emotional, nutritional, recreational and disability services,” Stoppa said. “The funds will also be used for facility improvements. It can be used for any organization that serves the county’s aging population.”

The ambulance millage will help to support the overall emergency response system which is anchored by an agreement between the county and the Alpena Fire Department. The funds would be used to continue to grow and cover expenses for the volunteer first reponders, which are in place in all of the townships, as well as offset the cost of new medical equipment, vehicles and training.

Alpena Fire Chief Bill Forbush said the agreement between the county and the city is vital to residents in emergency situations. He said the key aspect of millage is how it will be used to maintain the first responders, who are often the first on scene and taking steps to rectify a situation until the ambulance arrives.

“We do about 5,000 calls a year throughout the county, 3,000 of which are emergencies and we work together seamlessly,” Forbush said. “With the loss of the ambulance service it would really become a quality of life issue. It isn’t just about the ambulance though. The volunteer firefighter network is critical. They usually get there faster than us and can provide the initial life saving care to the patient. It takes both the ambulance and the first responder components for this to work well and the only way that can happen is with the millage.”

All told the recreations, ambulance and older persons millages would cost a homeowner $202.20 a year on a home valued at $100,000. The county’s veterans millage also is set to expire, but there has been no report to the finance committee regarding it being on the August ballot.

In other business:

the committee will recommend that the Department of Human Services be allowed to display blue ribbons in trees and a banner outside the circuit courthouse in honor of National Foster Care Month. The decorations will be in place from May 1-31.

* the committee voted to recommend spending $2,448 to purchase software that will allow people to reserve and pay for campsites at the three county owned campgrounds, as well as the fairgrounds.

* the committee recommends the board allow 911 Director Mark Gurisko to purchase three office chairs from Garant’s Office Supply for $2,037.

* Commissioner Bob Adrian was absent for the meeting.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews. Read his blog, Upon Further Review … at www.thealpenanews.com