2018-04-19 / Local News

Residents seek full-time crew in Leland

By Jen Murphy
of the Enterprise staff

Leland Township residents spoke out last week about fire station staffing.

Once township supervisor Susan Och opened the floor for public comment, two residents immediately offered their thoughts concerning the Leland fire station’s response to a Mar. 27 fire on Main St.

Leland Township resident Betty Elliott said the response to the fire on Main Street took too long even though firefighters were there in minutes. But they were dispatched from Lake Leelanau, not the Leland station.

Elliott questioned why firefighters are not stationed overnight at the Leland fire station.

Julie Sanco commended the fire department and the good work they have done in the past, but would like to see “equal treatment between the two fire stations. And it’s going to take a millage.”

During his Fire and Rescue report, Leland fire chief Dan Besson reviewed the response to the Main St. fire. “We’ve done outstanding work,” he said.

According to Besson, the cause of the fire is still undetermined.

Trustee Harold Borden said the community needs to discuss the issue further.

“This has been boiling for a little while and, of course, precipitated by the recent fire,” he said. “It might be more efficient at a subsequent meeting to ask questions at a public forum.” Trustee Michael Collins agreed.

Besson also provided a 21-page document entitled “Leland Township Fire and Rescue Staffing and Deployment Analysis,” to the board.

The report identifies factors to be considered in planning for the future needs of the Leland Township Fire and Rescue Department. According to the report, “It should serve as the building block by which we direct our efforts relative to structural fire protection.”

The report provided potential staffing models “to consider when it comes to setting the level of fire protection and readiness moving into the next decade.”

However, in a statement included in the analysis, Besson said he views the argument about staffing one station or the other as “really short-sighted.”

The report offered five potential options for staffing Lake Leelanau and Leland fire stations:

 24-hour full-time advanced life support and fire suppression staffing at both stations.

 24-hour fire suppression staffing at both stations and one advanced life support ambulance.

 A combination of full-time and parttime advanced life support with fire suppression staffing at both stations, again 24-hour.

 Combination full-time and part-time to provide fire suppression staffing at both stations and one advanced life support ambulance for 24 hours every day.

 Continue with current staffing at one station and seasonal staffing at the other fire station

A copy of the report may be requested by contacting Jane Keen, Leland Township clerk.

As things stand, a renewal of the half-mil for equipment and training will be included on the May 8 ballot. If additional funds are requested for increased staffing, additional operational millage funds may be requested on the November ballot. Approved wording for a millage increase would need to be submitted no later than May 15.

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