ACT…recap of Stakeholder Meeting

AFFORDABLE CONCORD TAXES

PRO FIREFIGHTERS • PRO CONCORD • PRO TAXPAYERS

June 16th was the first of several working meetings with the Trustees to discuss our urgent need for two new fire stations.  Concord citizens appreciate the opportunity to work with the administration toward this goal and thank them for this important meeting.

If you were not able to attend or watch online, the “stakeholder input meeting” set the pattern of presenting significant topics to citizens, firemen, and the Administration.   The Trustees assured that each of our topics would be discussed at our next joint meeting.   Affordable Concord Taxes (ACT) proposed citizen inclusion and the format was relatively satisfactory.

There is no doubt that everyone agrees that two new fire stations need to be built.   However, the community overwhelmingly communicated two basic restrictions with their votes last November:

(1)  These facilities and the accompanying resources must be in line with the size and emergency response requirements of our community, and

(2) Will not require additional taxes as other funding options need to be fully explored and utilized.

We have been concerned since the defeat of Issue 1 that the township has still not defined a reasonable budget for this important capital project.  Yet financial slides were shown last Tuesday evening that the township cannot afford two new stations, and the only viable option is to borrow the money using township assets or a tax levy increase as collateral.

You can watch the entire meeting at this site: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GB69h-ihS5s

Administration financial slides can be viewed at this site: https://concordtwp.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Financing-our-Fire-Stations.pdf

Again, the purpose of this first meeting was for the Trustees to hear from the residents about their questions, concerns and even new ideas that might not have been considered.

Citizens relayed an architect’s suggestions to build a more affordable station by designing a simple rectangular floor plan instead of the complicated original plan and reduce the size by utilizing multi-use rooms instead of single purpose rooms.

ACT looks forward to the next meeting in which the Township and representatives from the architectural firm will come back with in-depth answers to the questions posed and allow for two-way communication. Additionally, they will propose new designs and budgets, as well as more definitive plans of how these assets will be funded – both in terms of final construction costs and ongoing operational and maintenance considerations.

In the meantime, there are several key issues we believe were not adequately addressed at the meeting and will certainly need to be when the proposals are presented. These include:

  • Reducing the overall fire stations’ size and operational costs by sharing fire equipment and training facilities with neighboring communities to avoid duplicating costs wherever possible. And working collaboratively with the Auburn Career Center Fire Training Program to reduce costs.
  • Presenting Concord’s 10-year financial plan for firefighting and EMS needs, since the Trustees stated they plan to build two fire stations, add two additional firefighters at each station, build a third fire station, construct a large, centralized training center, and possibly add a ladder truck within 10 years. Plus, purchase new trucks and equipment. The question is quite simple — How is the Township going to afford all of this without raising taxes?
  • Considering the current economic crisis, showing the entire township financial plan that includes building two new fire stations and other township projects beyond the fire department (e.g., proposed addition to the town hall and the Town Center).
  • In addition, ACT continues to advocate for utilizing township housing and commercial development statistics and projections to determine the future emergency response requirements.

We look forward to the next stakeholder meeting – the date for which has yet to be determined — for the answers to these issues and questions posed at the meeting. And most important, we look forward to constructive, two-way dialogue.

Bob Sanderson

Treasurer

www.affordableconcordtaxes.com

PRO FIREFIGHTERS • PRO CONCORD • PRO TAXPAYERS



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  1. Concord Township Responds to ACT – Lobbyists for Citizens

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