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Published: Thursday, 3/4/2004

Swancreek Township mulls own rescue units


DELTA - Swancreek Township trustees are considering forming their own fire and rescue department instead of contracting for the services from surrounding entities.

If the township had its own department, the average response time should drop to about 5 minutes, trustee Randal Ruge said. Response times are now typically 6 to 12 minutes, trustee Jim Meyer said.

Trustees are expected to mull the issue for months before making a decision, trustees president Richard Stout said at this week s trustees meeting.

If the township would form its own department, trustees said they would probably use a combination of volunteers and paid employees. Initial estimates show that after covering start-up costs, the trustees could operate their own department for less than the $80,000 they expect to pay neighboring emergency departments this year, trustees said.

They might, however, ask voters for a bond issue to construct a building. Such a request probably would not be made for at least two years, Mr. Meyer said.

Trustees said they are unhappy with what they consider to be little input in the operations of the fire and emergency departments with which they have contracts. And they would like to own the equipment that township residents tax dollars help buy.

Swanton and Delta village leaders have mulled creating a fire district that could include Swancreek Township if trustees wanted to join it. But the township has not contributed funds to such studies.

Whether the township could operate its own emergency services economically seemed doubtful to Tom Sullivan, president of Concerned Citizens of Swancreek Township Inc.

“It s going to cost too much money to do it,” he said.

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