Town May Contract With Fire Department...7 Miles Away - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Town May Contract With Fire Department...7 Miles Away

Imagine living next to a fire station.

You might feel pretty secure if something were to happen to you or your home.

But what if, when your house caught fire, the firefighters next door didn't respond - and you had to wait for a fire truck from the next town down the highway about 10 minutes away?

That might be the case for residents of one mid-Michigan town.

Right now, Potterville splits the cost of firefighting with Benton township - which is right next door.

But it looks like that's going to change because Potterville is in financial trouble.

"There's no way the city can come up with that type of funding," said Potterville City Manager Wanda Darrow.

Under a new agreement, the Potterville-Benton Fire Department wouldn't be the first responders if something were to happen to homes right next to the station.

Potterville may soon hire the Charlotte Fire Department. Charlotte would do it for half the cost.

The problem is that when seconds count, firefighters would have to drive from Charlotte - which is more than 7 miles away.

"I'm not too concerned about the response time," said Darrow.

But what about people in Potterville who live minutes away from the station and might have to wait double or triple the time for a response to their home?

"The city would do their best to make sure they're getting their needs met," said Darrow. "I don't know what else to say because I don't know what might happen."

Darrow says the city council introduced millages last year that would have raised funds for the current contract, but residents rejected them.

"We told the people if this doesn't pass, we don't have a special assessment to turn to, there will be reductions, and obviously the people spoke," she said.

Now those residents may have to pay the price for the decision not to pay more for their fire department.

Potterville officials will meet with Benton Township on May 30th to see if there is a way the two groups can work out a new contract with the Potterville-Benton Township Fire Department.

If there's no agreement, the city says it will indeed move forward in using other options.

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