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Springfield supervisors have reservations about regional fire department


Springfield Township supervisors are seeking more details about the proposed Palisades Regional Fire and Rescue Service, due to commence in August.
“We need to have a good understanding where they want to go with this,” Supervisor Tony Matzura said at the township’s June 28 meeting, which was largely dedicated to its proposed fire and EMS tax.
Board members are trying to determine how much the merger will affect the township’s finances, and plan to question organization representatives at their August meeting. Directors are also concerned about how well the township will be covered.
At 31 square miles, Springfield dwarfs its neighboring townships, with many narrow, unpaved lanes, homes a considerable distance from roads, and a paucity of fire hydrants. “We want to know what equipment you have, when you are on call, the rough statistics,” remarked Supervisor Bill Ryker, who expressed concern about the organization’s adopting a top-down approach.

Township Manager Jason Wager acknowledged that some regional services had not worked out but noted that the consortium’s board will have Springfield representation. But Ryker wasn’t mollified. “There‘s whole other side to this that regionalization can’t obfuscate.”
The township continues to consider a dedicated fire and EMS tax to relieve pressure on its general fund but is taking a wait-and-see approach until details of merger become clearer. The township could impose a millage rate increase of up to 3%.
Other options include funding emergency services through its $52 annual local service tax currently levied on workers, or adopting a per capita tax at a maximum of $10 per adult. The latter tax, deemed difficult to collect, would net the township only an estimated $20,000, however. The township forecasts fire and ambulance expenses will reach $334,000 by 2027. Current funding for both entities is $298,000.

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