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On November ballot: Chelsea Area Fire Authority renewal of 1.8 mill tax levy

The Chelsea Area Fire Authority Board voted 4-1 to approve a resolution that asks voters of the authority district – the City of Chelsea, Lima, Lyndon and Sylvan townships — to renew a 1.8 mill tax levy for five years.

Chelsea Area Fire Authority patch

The question will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot.

The lone no vote, which took place on July 17, came from Ken Unterbrink, the Lima Township representative on the board. Unterbrink said he objected to a portion of a sentence that read “the millage renewal is in the best interests of the public health, safety and welfare of the residents within the jurisdictional limits of CAFA.”

Here’s what voters will see on the ballot: Shall the Chelsea Area Fire Authority, County of Washtenaw, Michigan, renew the previously voted increase in tax limitation in an amount not to exceed 1.80 mills ($1.80 on each $1,000 dollars of taxable value) against all taxable real and tangible property within the limits of the Chelsea Area Fire Authority for a period of five (5) years, 2012 to 2018 inclusive, to provide funds for all purposes authorized by statute, including operating and equipping the Chelsea Area fire Authority; and shall the Chelsea Area Fire Authority levy such millage for said purpose? The estimate of the revenue the Chelsea Area Fire Authority will collect if 1.80 mills is approved and levied by the Chelsea Area Fire Authority in the 2014 calendar year is approximately $1,260,000. By law, the Chelsea Downtown Development Authority will receive a portion of the mills collected from the Chelsea Downtown Development Authority District only.

The resolution was moved by John Francis, the Lyndon Township representative on the board, and seconded it by Jamie Bollinger, the at-large representative on the board.

In addition, the board discussed how to fund fire services should voters fail to approve the millage in November. By a unanimous vote, the board agreed to a weighted funding allocation that would charge member municipalities 40 percent for taxable value, 30 percent for population, and 30 percent for man hours.

“There is no way to make it (an alternative funding formula) work perfectly for everyone,” Bollinger said. “We needed to figure out a way that’s the most fair for everyone.”

Chairman Rod Anderson, Chelsea’s representative on the board, said although the board can change the allocation method at any time, it was important for voters to understand how each municipality would be charged for its fire services should the millage fail.

The board is made up of Anderson, Francis, Bollinger, Unterbrink and Sylvan Township’s representative Reuben Lesser.

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