MILLAGE PROPOSAL FOR FIRE AND EMERGENCY SERVICES ON AUGUST 2, 2022

The Lowell Charter Township Board has approved a ballot proposal for the Aug 2, election that, if approved, would provide funding for fire and emergency services for the growing Township.

On Aug. 2, Lowell Charter Township residents will be asked to consider a millage of 1 mill for eight years to support fire and emergency services, which will raise approximately $282,290 annually. If approved, the millage would:

•    Provide sustainable funding for fire and emergency services.
•    Allow the Township to focus more of its general fund on resident priorities, such as paving and maintaining roads.
•    Free up dollars for Township investments in parks and trails.

The millage proposal was recommended after careful review of the Township’s current and projected needs, growth and resources.

Educational information related to the millage proposal will be added to this page as materials become available.

Why the Ask? 

After careful review of the Township’s fire and emergency services, including projected growth and needs, it was determined the Township should ask residents to consider a millage to provide adequate funding for fire and emergency services.

A Growing Community

Long recognized as a farming community, the Township has changed over the past two decades with many farms giving way to apartments, condos and single-family homes — increasing population density. 

5.5% population increase to 6,276 residents (2020 census) 
28% 911 calls increase from 2020 to 2021 (8% increase over previous record year) 

Rising Costs of Fire and Emergency Services

The Township currently contracts for its fire and emergency services through the Lowell Area Fire and Emergency Services Authority and the Bowne Township Fire Department. The Township spends $262,472 annually for these two services, an increase of 40% since 2019 — and this is still not enough to cover all its emergency response needs nor keep pace with rising costs.

An Understaffed Authority

The Lowell Area Fire and Emergency Services Authority has a full-time chief and one part-time firefighter who are supported by 30 paid on-call firefighters to serve 15,160 residents in the three communities it serves. Lowell Charter Township is the largest of the three communities supported by the Authority. 

It has been increasingly challenging to attract and retain paid on-call firefighters, so the Authority recently approved wage increases. Increased call demand has also made it challenging to keep up with fire inspections and pre-fire planning. To continue to provide efficient service to residents, the Authority would like to add a firefighter/EMT as a part-time administrative assistant. 

Additionally, the Authority needs to replace a fire truck. The Township will need to pay its share of this purchase, which comes to more than $223,300 — an expense that will need to come from the Township’s general fund in the absence of millage dollars.

The Need for a Sustainable Funding Source

Currently, only 0.025% of each dollar paid in property taxes stays with the Township. The remaining property taxes go to other entities in Kent County, paying for education, the library, senior services, jail and other critical services. 

The Township funds its fire and emergency services from its general fund — making it one of the only townships in Kent County to do so. The Township is also one of the only townships in Kent County that does not have a dedicated millage or special assessment for fire and emergency services. Township residents currently pay 0.75 mills — the lowest operating millage rate of any municipality in Kent County. The new millage would create a dedicated, sustainable funding source for fire and emergency services. The Township can then dedicate its general fund to other public services, such as maintaining parks, roads and cemeteries.

In the absence of additional dollars provided by the proposed millage, the Township must dip deeper into its general fund to support fire and emergency services. This will force the Township to further reduce spending on roads and parks in order to meet its obligation for fire and emergency services.

What is the millage? 

On Aug. 2, Lowell Charter Township residents will be asked to consider a millage of 1 mill for eight years to support fire and emergency services.

If approved, the millage would cost the average homeowner of a $225,000 house approximately $112 annually.

What does 1 mill look like?
Take your home’s taxable value and multiply it by 0.001 to discover your annual millage cost.

FAQs

Explore Frequently Asked Questions to learn more about the millage proposal.

Resources and Helpful Links

Summary Document for Proposed Millage Request

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