Michigan Senator Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City) on Wednesday introduced a bill with the goal of easing the financial burden placed on first responders throughout the state.
Senate Bill 821 amends a current law to allow local governments to purchase real or personal property, like fire trucks or ambulances, under an installment purchase agreement.
Currently, the organizations can sign lease agreements that potentially include the option to purchase a vehicle at the end of the agreement. Schmidt contends this method is costly and ineffective.
“Townships, villages, and cities finance fire trucks, ambulances, land and other acquisitions through installment purchase agreements,” said the state lawmaker. “However, emergency authorities are not able to use these types of agreements and are often saddled into a deal that is not as cost-effective or beneficial to the purchasing authority.”
The measure, which was referred to the Senate Committee on Local Government, will need to be approved by both chambers of the legislature and Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
Roy Griffitts, president of the Lake Charlevoix Emergency Medical Services Authority board of directors, praised the new legislation, further explaining the need for the new provision.
According to Griffitts, the changes will allow first responders to update their equipment, possibly improving the response time and care that residents of the state receive.
“The creation of the Lake Charlevoix EMS Authority with its partnering members allows better, more efficient care throughout the region, and this proposal from Sen. Schmidt would give us another tool to help improve response times and provide the emergency services people deserve,” Griffitts said. “We currently have two vehicles that are nearing the end of their lifespan and need to be replaced, and this bill would provide an avenue to do so in a significantly more affordable fashion.”
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