Scottville To Phase Out Reimbursing Fire Wage For Mason County Rural Fire Authority

The Mason County Rural Fire Authority is thriving.

Now some of those who helped it get back on its feet may be getting a break.               

About 15 years ago, several villages and townships stepped up to help pay expenses for the fire authority when they were financially unstable.

Now that things are looking up, Scottville has decided to gradually pull back.

9&10’s Taylor Jones dug into what this means for both the city and the rural fire authority.

“Somewhere along the line I think money became an issue with expenses getting the authority up and running. So they asked for the townships, 16 municipalities, to reimburse for the wages of the fireman for the runs within that jurisdiction, and since that time we have,” says Amy Williams, Scottville City Manager.

A fire department is a necessity, which is why Scottville and the surrounding areas didn’t think twice about supporting their rural fire authority.

Giving about $10,000 a year to pay for firefighters and equipment.

But now the rural fire department is debt free and doing well.

Scottville decided to start rolling back that money, but not the support.

“The city of Scottville did vote on the sliding scale agreement to phase it out over three years, but again we are still supportive of the fire authority,” says Williams.

They were the first to make this move and other municipalities may follow.

But the Mason County Rural Fire Authority says they’ll survive.

“Starting in 2017, we’re going to be okay because we’re going to have that full 50 percent. We can budget for it. The following year we can have 30 percent, we can budget because we know we’re only going to get 30 percent reimbursement, ten percent the following year, and then it’s going to go away so it’s just a budgeting thing. We know what we’re going to get so it makes it a lot easier to operate,” says Chuck Keller, Chairman of Mason County Rural Fire Authority.

The city of Scottville is happy to be able to use those extra dollars for other things uses within the city.

“It’s always there and needed, for something else in the general fund wise like police protection DPW and working on the streets, so the money would likely be used elsewhere in the budget,” says Williams.