Garfield Township Trustees Vote to Leave Grand Traverse Metro Fire Department

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A vote Tuesday night changed the future of the Grand Traverse Metro Fire Department.

The department is made up of three townships: Garfield, Acme and East Bay.

But Garfield Township has voted to to leave.

The trustees passed a resolution to withdraw from Grand Traverse Metro Fire Department Tuesday night.

But even if they do vote to withdraw, that doesn’t mean it’s the end of the discussion.

“It is the feeling of the Garfield Township board that we are being held hostage by the other two townships,” says supervisor of Charter Township of Garfield., Chuck Korn.

The Grand Traverse Metro Fire Department Board is made up of six people, two from each township.

We’re told they have been working on several problems over the last two years.

“One would be board governance, one would be tax tribunals and the other would be capital expenditures at stations,” says Grand Traverse Metro fire chief Pat Parker.

Recently, they have had some four to two votes, Garfield Township being outvoted by East Bay and Acme.

“In my opinion the other two townships were looking to reduce their expenses and increase Garfield’s, that’s been the result of the votes, Korn said.

Based on the taxable value of the township, Garfield Township pays a little less than half of Metro’s total budget.

Receiving 70 percent of the services, but paying for 50 percent.

Chief Pat Parker says he believes they have been moving forward with negotiations.

“Are they serious, sure are we all taking it serious, absolutely. I think Garfield’s just using this as a way to get everybody back to the negotiating table. We’re serious about it, lets do it right away,” Parker said.

The wording in their resolution says they have the right to reverse the resolution, if they all agree to the same terms.

Their articles of incorporation state that they have to give 30 days’ notice before the start of the fiscal year.

But they have until the end of 2019 to reach an agreement.

All three townships and Metro say no matter what the vote is, they want to solve this and stay together.