Ten-year levy for equipment upgrades to raise $18 million

BERLIN TWP. — Berlin Township Fire Chief Dave Hartway could not be more pleased with residents’ support for a 1.5-mill special assessment to purchase needed fire equipment and apparatus over the next decade.

The 10-year measure passed handily on Tuesday, Nov. 3, with 1,071 voting in favor and 700 opposed.

The approved increase will raise an additional $184,000 per year above the funds already generated from the existing 2.0 mills levied for the fire department.

Speaking on behalf of his fellow firefighters and fire auxiliary members, Hartway acknowledged township residents for rallying in support of the fire service.

“We’re so appreciative of this show of support for the fire department from our community,” Hartway said. “We are very thankful and we want people to know their money will be spent wisely.

“These additional funds are going to allow us to acquire the equipment we need to protect resident’s lives and property,” he continued. “They will also be used to protect the health and safety of our firefighters.”

Hartway noted that one of the department’s first priorities will be to purchase 15 new airpacks, which he estimated the cost at about $5,500 to $7,000 per unit.

Airpacks are necessary when firefighters enter a burning building and continue to breathe. They must be tested annually to ensure they are operating properly at a cost of about $160 per unit.

Along with updating the department’s fire trucks and apparatus, he said other immediate needs include acquiring new radios and thermal imaging equipment.

The current roster of Berlin Township firefighters includes fire officers: Chief Dave Hartway, Asst. Chief Tony Williams, Capt. Blaise Pewinski, Sgt. Sam Russell; and firefighters: Ron Schmitz, Tom Callewaert, Martin McDermott, Keith Lake, Logan McDermott, Ashley Callewaert, Don Pocius, Kyle Rotarius, Brian Petrzak, Tom Cackowski, Rebecca Schoenherr; and probationary firefighters Carl Henkle and Brian Schnoeherr.

Tom Wearing started at the Tri-City Times in 1989, covering the Village of Capac as a beat reporter. He later served stints as assistant editor and editor. Today, he covers Imlay City and Almont as a staff writer. He enjoys music and plays drums and sings with various musical groups in the Detroit Metropolitan area.