When it comes to emergency services for the City of Dexter, Dexter Township, and Webster Township, there is one Fire Department – the Dexter Area Fire Department (DAFD) – that operates in the three municipalities under an interlocal agreement.
As the City of Dexter moves forward in their efforts to bring their emergency services into the 21st century, questions have surfaced (mostly from me) as to the relationship of the City’s fire department to the surrounding townships and who is paying for what services.
To explain it all, I turned to Dexter Township Board Supervisor Harley Rider who is also Chairperson of the Dexter Area Fire Department Administrative Board. Here is what he had to say:
“The Dexter Area Fire Department (DAFD) operates under an Interlocal agreement that was first implemented in 1985 and was amended again in 1999. That agreement specifies the mechanism for funding the department.
“The language detailing the formula is extensive, but distills down to this:
Mutual Aid runs (runs outside the geographic area of the three participating municipalities) are subtracted from the total DAFD runs for one calendar year and the participating municipalities (Dexter City, Dexter Township and Webster Township) pay their share of the following year’s DAFD budget equal to their share of the non-mutual aid runs for the previous year.
“There were 1,319 runs in 2017, with 259 being “shared”, or mutual aid runs. 323 (30.77%) of the non-mutual aid runs were to Webster Township, 367 (33.19%) to Dexter Township and 370 (36.04%) to the City of Dexter.
“The total budget for 2018 is $2,118,299, so each municipality pays their percentage of that budget based on the aforementioned run percentages. In 2018 the cost of funding DAFD is slightly higher in the City of Dexter ($736,577) than in the Township of Dexter ($730,604), and lowest to Webster Township ($643,012) based on their respective run percentages.
“However, the response time for DAFD within the City of Dexter is much quicker than the average response time in the townships, with Dexter Township having quicker average response times than Webster Township, primarily due to the Dexter Township Sub-Station. (Bearing in mind that the City covers only a few square miles, while each township is approximately 36 square miles.)
“As to fire stations, the Interlocal agreement specifies that the (then) Village of Dexter shall lease the current main station to DAFD. It also allows, but does not require, the Department to build sub-stations, but there is no clarification as to how the construction would be funded, other than through the annual budget process.
“Dexter Township elected to build its own sub-station following a pilot project with temporary living quarters at the Multi-Lakes Sewer property with two fire units housed in the Multi-Lakes garage. The Voters in Dexter Township approved a 7-year 1-mill tax levy to pay for the station.
“DAFD now leases the station from the Township for $1.00 per month, plus reimbursement to the Township for the cost of our facility insurance, plus $100.00 per month for snow and lawn maintenance. Utilities, operational costs, and most other maintenance is funded in the DAFD annual budget.
“DAFD also leases the main station in the City of Dexter, but at a considerably higher monthly cost. The cost of leasing and maintaining the stations is built into the annual DAFD budget, so each municipality pays their percentage of that cost as part of the budget process.”