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Town of Troy fire call charges remain level

Fire call charges in the township of Troy will remain at $700, a decision made at the town board meeting, Thursday, March 8.

The board considered eliminating the charge by proposing a tax increase for town residents.

"I'm happy with the current process we have in place now," said Town Chair Ray Knapp.

Supervisor Jan Cuccia agreed.

"Unless the fire association decides to stop charging municipalities for fire calls, then I'd be all for eliminating the charge," said Cuccia. "Since they don't, I'm fine with our current system."

The town received 35 fire calls over the last year and has collected on 28 of those incidents, recovering nearly $20,000 in fees.

"Only a small number of residents realize this is an issue," said Knapp. "You cut that charge out then we're going to have to come up with the $20,000 another way."

In order to eliminate the $700 fee, the town would need public buy-in and residents would need to vote on a referendum.

"Right now there's already some tax dollars involved in off-setting the cost charged to individuals for fire calls," explained Knapp. "We don't need to increase taxes to get rid of the charge."

The board voted unanimously to keep the $700 fire call charge.

Before discussing fire call charges, Supervisor Sue Warren presented the board with information about MABAS.

MABAS, or Mutual Aid Box Alarm System, is a program that allows towns to share emergency aid. This would save towns thousands of dollars in the event of an emergency where another towns emergency responders, like fire fighters, are called in.

"MABAS has been around for a long time," explained Warren, who learned of the program at the Hudson Fire Advisory meeting. "It's a neighbor helping neighbor type of system."

States with counties participating in MABAS are Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, and Ohio, according to Warren.

"We at the Hudson Fire Advisory meeting, felt this was something we'd like to pursue, but each municipality needs to come on board," explained Warren.

"There could be potential savings by joining," added Supervisor Jason Kjos. "If you know you'll be helping each other out, you may not need as many fire trucks, or ambulances within a town."

The board has until May to decide if they would like to join. The board is planning on taking action on this issue at the next meeting.

The board also passed a motion to extend officials' terms by a week in response to election law changes.

The 2011 term start date was the second Tuesday of April, and the 2012 start date is the third Tuesday of April. Without this proposed ordinance, the town of Troy would go a week without some of their elected officials.