Officials aim to clear up confusion about Mesick Rescue Squad millage renewal

Pictured is a sign in front of Springville Township Hall asking residents to support the Mesick Rescue Squad millage request. If the millage isn\'t approved in November, the Mesick Rescue Squad will miss out on $160,000 it would have collected from Springville Township, said Allen Sherburne, squad captain and president of the board of administrators.

MESICK — Residents of Springville Township will be asked in November to vote on a millage request that looks very similar to a request that was approved back in August.

It may seem like Deja vu but it’s not ... at least not exactly.

The request that was approved in August renewed a 3-mill levy to fund the Mesick Rescue Squad from 2021-2024.

Here’s the confusion: the millage that voters will be asked to approve in November is the same one approved in August, just for a different time frame — 2020.

Springville Township Clerk Jessica Boonstra said when the millage (which was an increase from 0.75 to 3 mills) was originally approved a few years ago, it was for the period of 2018-2019, however, township officials mistakenly believed it was for the period of 2019-2020.

Officials didn’t realize the ballot language in August didn’t include 2020 because they were under the impression that year already was covered by the previous approved millage, Boonstra said.

“It’s really nobody’s fault,‘ said Boonstra, who has received questions from confused residents who’ve seen signs around town asking for voter support on the millage. “We just want voters to know about this.‘

If the millage isn’t approved in November, the Mesick Rescue Squad will miss out on $160,000 it would have collected from Springville Township, said Allen Sherburne, squad captain.

Mesick Rescue Squad is funded by millages in Antioch, Springville, half of Wexford, and half of Hanover townships in Wexford County. They also serve residents in Slagle Township, but since the township opted out of supporting the squad through a millage a couple years ago, they now bill those residents after they provide services.

Sherburne said if they don’t receive the 2020 millage money from Springville Township, they likely would have to fall back on savings they had previously set aside to purchase a new ambulance.

“We would take out the money set aside for that purpose and tighten our belt,‘ Sherburne said. “But we’re hoping to rectify the error so it doesn’t come to that.‘

As their current deisel-fueled ambulance continues to age and tack on miles, Sherburne said it’s becoming more and more expensive to maintain. Another concern he has if they were forced to dip into their savings is not being able to upgrade necessary equipment such as their rescue snowmobile, which is getting close to 30 years old.

During a year when they’ve responded to significantly more emergency calls (nearly 500 compared to the three-year annual average of 350), Sherburne said he’s worried about the possibility of equipment not being able to function when they need it most.

“It’s taxing our small rescue squad to the limits,‘ Sherburne said about the increase in calls this year.

In an effort to assure residents they aren’t “double dipping‘ by asking them to approve the same millage twice, Sherburne said they’ve been going door to door to talk to people about the upcoming election and why they need their support once again.

Anyone with questions about the millage can call the Springville Township Hall at (231) 885-1392.

Cadillac News