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January 5, 2013

Blair voters back to the polls for millage

Ambulance service millage should have been on Nov. ballot

TRAVERSE CITY — Blair Township voters will have to go back to the polls in February because township officials forgot something: a millage that helps fund the township's ambulance service.

The millage expires in June and should have been put on the November general election ballot, said Pat Pahl, township supervisor. A special election in February likely will cost the township about $3,600.

"It's because the people who are responsible to make sure it gets done forgot," said Pahl, who pointed to township Clerk Lynette Wolfgang and Daryl Case, medical director for the township's emergency medical service.

Wolfgang took over as township clerk in February 2012. She was busy with her first major election, the August primary, when she should have presented a resolution to the township board for the November ballot, she said.

"I admit I have some responsibility," Wolfgang said. "But the language does have to be approved by the township board, and none of the other board members noticed."

Wolfgang trimmed upcoming election costs by combining four precincts into two for the Feb. 26 election. She also reduced the number of poll workers and supplies.

The four-year renewal of 1.5 mills would raise about $375,000 of the township's $788,000 annual budget for ambulance service. It would cost the owner of a home with a $75,000 taxable value $112.50 annually.

Blair and Traverse City are the only two departments in Grand Traverse County that employ paramedics to provide advanced life support. Unlike Traverse City, Blair Township uses its ambulances as the primary transport to Munson Medical Center. It raises about $410,000 a year from billing for transport.

Township residents pay no out-of-pocket costs for medical transport because of the millage.

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