Millville doing its part to support emergency services

New resolution targets impact fees to MVFC

This past June, the Town of Millville passed a resolution that amended its fee schedule for the 2016 fiscal year, to include a $500 impact fee charged on new residential and commercial construction beginning July 1, 2015. The fees are being collected to fund a grant for the Millville Volunteer Fire Company’s fire and ambulance services.

“Come January, they have to fill the application out, list the items they want and the cost,” explained Millville Town Manager Debbie Botchie. “So the council, if we have the money for them and they approve that, they have to purchase the item, bring the invoice to me — we make sure it’s what they submitted for, and we reimburse them. We don’t give them the money up front. We also have to have their audited financials.

“That’s how the State and County do a lot of their grants, which is where we got the idea. If we have to be accountable, they have to be accountable. This is taxpayers’ monies. They have to pay monies up front to us, so we have to make sure their money is being expended on the items that they told us.”

Botchie added that the fire company would not be allowed to return a given item after the Town had funded it and then something else.

“If that happens, they may be liable to pay us back the money,” she said.

The funds may be used for the replacement of outdated capital items that are used in the daily operations of the company or to purchase additional capital items that which enhance operations. They may not be used for salary expenses, including budgeted base salaries, overtime and bonuses.

Previously, the Town solely granted MVFC funding through a provision in its charter.

“Our charter states we may give 3 percent to a fire company and 3 percent to an ambulance company on our levied — what we bill, not what we receive — on our levied taxes.”

Last week, the Town of Ocean View also discussed its own funding of the Town’s Emergency Services Enhancement Fund which, according to its code, is “funded by means of … a surcharge of not less than 0.25 percent and not to exceed 0.50 percent of the construction value shown in the applications for building permits issued by the Town of Ocean View.”

Through Ocean View’s Emergency Services Enhancement Fund, the Town granted MVFC $80,000 in the 2014 fiscal year, $110,000 in the 2015 fiscal year, and currently has $65,700 in the coffers in the 2016-fiscal-year grant fund. At its Sept. 22 workshop, Ocean View Mayor Walter Curran stated the that Town’s current Census count is approximately 2,030 fulltime residents. The Town of Millville’s population, according to the 2010 Census, is 544.

Botchie said that, because of the Town’s growth and financial stability, the council decided to look into providing more grant monies for the fire company.

“Last year, they would’ve received $78,000 from impact fees, in addition to the $17,982 we gave them,” she said, noting that, in the past three months, the Town has collected $18,500 in impact fees for the grant.

The Town of Millville is stepping up to help support MVFC, said Botchie, as the coming year’s grant will demonstrate.

“Millville By the Sea is a 20-year build-out. If a future council still decided to do this, they’re looking to receive a lot of money from the Town of Millville. We have one development that hasn’t even started yet, and that’s 500 new homes,” she said.

“The more residents we get, the more donations they get in Millville. So I think Millville is stepping up and doing their part. It didn’t warrant it before, because of our population. I think this new plan is stepping up to the plate with our share — more tax money, more impact fees, because we’re building.”