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During public comment at the Sept. 5 Chelsea City Council meeting, Chelsea Area Fire Authority Chief Rob Arbini addressed the City Council regarding the wording for the CAFA millage request on the Nov. 7 ballot.

He said the official ballot language of “a new additional millage in an amount not to exceed 2.4 mills” must be worded that way by law, but might be misleading to some people.

To clear up any misunderstanding about the ballot proposal, member municipalities in CAFA – Chelsea, Lima, Lyndon and Sylvan Townships – are currently paying 1.8 mills for fire services that expire in 2018.

The current millage was approved by voters in those CAFA-member municipalities in November, 2012 and runs through 2018. The millage was voted upon a year earlier than when it was due to expire, so that if it failed, there was time to re-evaluate.

The November, 2017 millage proposal of 2.4 mills is being handled the same way. If it is approved by voters in the CAFA member municipalities, taxpayers would not begin paying the 0.6-mill increase until Jan. 1, 2019.

In other words, the new millage would not begin until the current one expires.

It should also be noted that if approved, the 2.4 mills requested on the ballot would replace the 1.8 mills currently being paid; it is not added to that amount.

So, if approved, the 2.4 mills means $240 per year for each $100,000 of taxable value, a 0.6 mill (or $60 per year) increase from the current millage of 1.8 mills.

If approved, among the things CAFA plans to do is schedule all major capital expenses such as replacement costs for apparatus and hire three additional firefighters so there will be four firefighters on each shift.

Arbini said if anyone has questions or concerns about the millage proposal or the language, call him at Station 1 at 200 W. Middle Street at 475-8755, stop by the station or email him at chiefarbini@chelseafire.org.

He also left pamphlets with the city council that explain the facts of the millage proposal and additional ones can be found on the table outside the Chelsea Police Station window.

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