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Council to ponder changes to emergency response

Area residents gather at the Ishpeming Fire Department to view a demonstration of the Sutphen SP70 fire truck purchased via a voter millage in 2018. The city council will consider changes to its ordinances and policies regarding charges for emergencies to which the fire department responds. (Journal file photo)

ISHPEMING — The Ishpeming City Council will consider rescinding two of its ordinances centering on fire department response and fees and amend the city’s false fire alarm policy during its meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Ishpeming City Hall.

One of the ordinances recommended for rescission concerns charges for fire department services rendered at the scene of structure fires. The other ordinance deals with charges for fire department response and services at motor vehicle accidents.

Current ordinances mandate a $100-per-hour charge for each fire apparatus dispatched to the scene of either a structure fire or motor vehicle accident as well as the current hourly rate for each emergency responder in addition to Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes and workers compensation insurance costs.

The proposed changes to the city’s false fire alarm policy include a $250 charge for the first fire apparatus dispatched and $100 for each subsequent piece of equipment dispatched to the scene.

Councilmembers will also review a report from G.A. Haan Development about expenditures related to the Jasperlite Senior Housing development that is under construction at 550 Cleveland Ave.

The report is a requirement of the city’s Payment in Lieu of Taxes ordinance approved by the council in March 2017.

Under the PILT, G.A. Haan is required to provide written proof to the city manager that they have spent in excess of $750,000 in “hard and soft costs” for the $6 million-plus project by Dec. 30, 2019.

The project will consist of 36 rent-controlled residential housing units for senior citizens 55 years and older — 32 of which are eligible for low income housing tax credits — as well as a community center, a large parking area and new green space.

The PILT requires a service charge consisting of 4% of the difference between “annual shelter rents actually collected and the expenses for utilities actually paid by the sponsor (G.A. Haan)” to be paid each year in lieu of ad valorem, or property taxes.

The PILT is required as part of the low-income housing tax credits from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.

The council will also hear an update on plans for a park along Hematite Drive that will honor three famous “Sons of Ishpeming,” who include Nobel Prize-winning chemist Glenn Seaborg, noted author and jurist John Voelker, and Kelly Johnson, a pioneer of 20th century aeronautical engineering.

The proposed small park would feature a bronze sculpture of the three men affixed to a 5-foot-by-7-foot boulder in the center of a 20-foot diameter plaza. It would include curved metal benches and stanchions and metal plaques, according to an agenda supplement.

Lisa Bowers can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is lbowers@miningjournal.net.