[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Board of the Township of Denton 11-2-2005. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of this chapter is to authorize the Township to recover costs incurred by the Township in responding to certain public safety and/or fire emergency incidents, and to provide for the procedure by which such recovery shall occur.
For purposes of this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings supplied, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
- ASSESSABLE COSTS
- Those costs for services incurred by the Township in connection with a response to a public safety or fire emergency incident based on, but not limited to, the actual labor and material costs of the Township (including, without limitation, employee wages, fringe benefits, administrative overhead, costs of equipment, costs of equipment operation, costs of materials, costs of transportation, costs of material disposal and costs of contracted labor) whether or not the services are provided by the Township or by a third party on behalf of the Township; service charges and interest; attorney fees, litigation costs and any costs, charges, fines, or penalties imposed on the Township by any court or state or federal governmental entity.
- BOMB THREAT
- The verbal or written threat of a bomb or other explosive device, which if discharged as threatened would violate a federal, state or local law.
- DEPARTMENT or FIRE DEPARTMENT
- The Township Fire Department.
- EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE
- Emergency medical, public safety, police, fire and civil defense services.
- EXCESSIVE REQUESTS FOR EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE
- Any request for emergency assistance made to a particular location or premises if such location or premises has requested emergency assistance more than six times in the preceding six months.
- FALSE ALARM
- Any automated or manual device designed to request or summon emergency assistance which device is activated intentionally or otherwise, in the absence of an actual need for emergency assistance. The determination that there was no actual need for emergency assistance shall be made by the highest ranking Fire Department member, or in lieu of any Fire Department officers, the most senior person responding to a false alarm. Provided, however, a false alarm shall not be deemed to have occurred if:
- HAZARDOUS MATERIALS
- Those elements, substances, wastes or by-products, including, but not limited to, combustible liquid, flammable gas, explosives, flammables, poisons, organic peroxides, oxidizers, pyrophorics, unstable reactive matter, water reactive matter, petroleum products, antifreeze, polychlorinated biphenyls and asbestos, which are or potentially are harmful to the environment or human or animal life, or which pose an unreasonable or imminent risk to life, health, or safety of persons or property, or to the ecological balance of the environment as determined by the Fire Chief or the senior fire official of the Department in charge at the scene.
- HAZARDOUS MATERIAL INCIDENT or HAZARDOUS MATERIAL EMERGENCY
- Any occurrence, activity, accident, incident, or emergency where a release of hazardous materials occurs or is reasonably imminent and where the Fire Chief or his or her designee has so declared such activity, accident, or emergency a hazardous material incident or emergency.
- ILLEGAL FIRE
- A fire set or determined to have been set in violation of a federal, state or local law and shall include, without limitation, an arson fire and a fire set in violation of a "no burning" ban or order. An illegal fire does not include an unintentional fire or fire caused by an act of God, e.g., a lightning storm.
- MOTOR VEHICLE
- Any self-propelled or towed vehicle designed or used on the public streets, roads and highways to transport passengers or property which is required to be registered for use upon such public streets, roads, and highways and, for the purposes hereof, all trailers or appurtenances attached to any motor vehicle.
- A. Excessive requests for emergency assistance;
- B. A false alarm;
- C. A hazardous material incident or emergency;
- D. An illegal fire;
- E. Bomb threats where the Fire Department is requested to move its apparatus or manpower from the Fire Station;
- F. Threats of harm to oneself or others;
- G. A structure demolition;
- H. A utility line failure;
- I. A motor vehicle incident or accident;
- J. A structure fire that requires the use of Fire Department equipment, manpower, and extinguishing agent(s); or
- K. Any other fire that requires the use of Fire Department equipment, manpower, and extinguishing agent(s), including without limitation to fires in open areas, fields, woods and forests.
- Any actual or threatened spilling, leaking, pumping, pouring, emitting, emptying, discharging, injecting, leaching, dumping or disposing into the environment, including, but not limited to, the air, soil, groundwater and surface water.
- RESPONSIBLE PARTY
- Any individual, firm, corporation, association, partnership, commercial entity, consortium, joint venture, government entity or any other legal entity responsible for a public safety or fire emergency incident, or any owner, tenant, occupant or party in control of real or personal property from which, onto which, or related to which there is a public safety or fire emergency incident, and their heirs, estates, successors and assigns.
- STRUCTURE DEMOLITION
- The tearing down of a structure damaged by fire or hazardous materials incident, which must, in the opinion of the Fire Chief or his or her designee, be promptly demolished during or following the fire or hazardous materials incident to protect public safety.
- STRUCTURE FIRE
- A fire that involves any building, outbuilding or similar structure. This would include any fire that involves something burning within the structure, as well as any fire involving the structure itself, including, without limitation, interior and exterior walls, roof and roof structures, structural members, substructural members, ceiling and floor structures, porches, decks and awnings.
- THREAT(S) OF HARM TO ONESELF OR OTHERS
- The verbal or written threat of physical harm to oneself, one's property, or another or another's property which if carried out would be a violation of federal, state or local law.
- The Township of Denton and its various departments and units.
- UTILITY LINE FAILURE
- The disabling of any transmission or service line, cable conduit, pipeline, wire or the like used to provide, collect or transport electricity, natural gas, cable television and stereo signals or electronic impulses, water or sanitary or storm sewage if the owner or party responsible for the maintenance of such utility line does not respond within one hour to a request to repair or correct such failure.
The-Denton Township Fire Department provides public safety and/or fire emergency services to the Township of Denton and has entered into a fire protection contract to provide these services to other areas. At present, these other areas include the 11 townships of Roscommon County, State of Michigan, the Merritt Fire Department, County of Missaukee, State of Michigan, and South Branch Township, Crawford County, State of Michigan. It is intended that the rights and procedures provided herein shall extend and apply to the entire protection area, and that the same are an inseparable aspect of the services provided by the Township and its Fire Department both within the Township limits and elsewhere under and pursuant to such fire protection contracts.
Upon receipt of the Fire Department Chief's report pertaining to a public safety or fire emergency, the Township may recover all assessable costs in connection with such emergency from any or all responsible parties, individually, jointly and/or severally.
The Township Clerk or his or her designee shall determine the total assessable costs and shall, in consultation with other Township personnel involved in responding to public safety or fire emergency incident, determine whether to assess any, all, or part of such costs against any of the responsible parties. The Township Clerk may maintain a list of associated costs to help him or her in assessing costs for a public safety or fire emergency, which list should be updated annually or at any other reasonable time in the Clerk's discretion, and which shall be considered a guideline in calculating costs to the responsible parties. In making determination of costs, the following shall be considered:
The total assessable costs;
The risk of public safety or fire emergency incident imposed on the Township and/or its response area, its residents and their property;
Whether there was any injury or damage to a person or property;
Whether the public safety or fire emergency incident required evacuation;
The extent to which the public safety or fire emergency incident required an unusual or extraordinary use of Township personnel and equipment;
Whether there was any damage to the environment;
The existence and extent of negligence or fault on the part of the responsible party; and
Whether the public safety or fire emergency incident involved, or the assessable costs were incurred for the benefit of a resident of the Township.
Editor's Note: The current charges for services rendered are available from the Township offices.
After consideration of the factors in Subsection B immediately above, the Township Clerk may allocate assessable costs among and between multiple responsible parties, or may assess all or any portion of such costs as against any responsible party, and regardless of whether a responsible party has other legal liability therefor or is legally at fault.
If the Township Clerk determines not to assess all or a part of assessable costs against a responsible party, such determination shall not in any way limit or extinguish the liability of the responsible party to other parties.
After determining to assess and recover assessable costs against a responsible party or parties and the amount of such assessment, the Township Clerk shall submit such determination to the Township Treasurer or his or her designee, who shall mail an invoice to each responsible party against whom recovery is sought at his or her last known mailing address. Such invoice shall be due and payable within 30 days of the date of mailing, and any amounts unpaid after such date shall bear a late payment fee equal to 1% per month or fraction thereof that the amount due and any previously imposed late payment fee remains unpaid. If a responsible party shall appeal assessable costs pursuant to § 150-6 hereof, such costs, if upheld, in whole or in part, shall be due and payable 30 days from the date of determination of the appeal, and any late payment fees shall be calculated retroactively after the 30th day after the original invoice from which such appeal was taken, unless the Township Board during such appeal hearing determines that there existed a meritorious and bona fide dispute and basis for appeal, in which event the Township Board may waive the late payment fee which accrued prior to the date of appeal and up to 30 days thereafter.
Any responsible party who receives an invoice for assessable costs shall have an opportunity to meet with the Township Clerk or his or her designee to request a modification of assessable costs. The responsible party shall request such meeting in writing within seven calendar days of the date of the invoice assessing the assessable costs. At such meeting, the Township Clerk may affirm or modify the assessment of costs. If, after meeting with the Township Clerk or his or her designee, the responsible party is not satisfied, he or she may request an opportunity to appear before the Denton Township Board to further request a modification of assessable costs. A responsible party who desires to appear before the Township Board must first meet with the Township Clerk as provided above and shall file a written request to appear before the Township Board within seven calendar days of the date of the meeting with the Township Clerk. Upon receipt of such request, the Township Clerk will place the responsible party on the agenda of the next regularly scheduled Township Board meeting, which meeting is at least 14 calendar days after the date on which the responsible party files the request to appear. Any filed request to appear shall specifically identify and explain all reasons why the responsible party believes the assessed costs should be modified. Any reason, basis or argument for modification of assessable costs not set forth in the request to appear shall be deemed waived by the responsible party. Failure to timely file either the request for meeting with the Township Clerk or the request to appear before the Township Board shall constitute a waiver of the responsible party's objection to the assessment as invoiced and/or as modified by the Township Clerk pursuant hereto. After a responsible party has been given an opportunity to appear before it, the Township Board shall determine within 30 days whether to confirm, modify or void the assessment and invoice of assessable costs as to that appearing responsible party.
Monies collected under this chapter shall be applied first to reimburse the Township for costs incurred in the recovery of such costs, with the remaining balance to be placed directly into a fund of the Township Fire Department for the purchase and/or replacement of Fire Department equipment, supplies, operation, or other Fire Department matters as deemed appropriate by the Chief of said Department.
Assessable costs assessed against a responsible party not paid when due, including late payment fees, shall constitute a lien upon any real property owned or in which an interest is held by a responsible party within the Township or response area, and from, upon or pertaining to which property the public safety or fire emergency incident occurred. Such lien shall be of the same character and effect as the lien created for real property taxes and shall include accrued interest and penalties. The Township Treasurer shall prior to March 1 of each year certify to the Assessor of the Township in which the subject property is situated the fact that such assessable costs are delinquent and unpaid. The Township Assessor shall then enter the delinquent amount on the next general ad valorem tax roll as a charge against the affected property, and the lien thereon shall be enforced in the same manner as provided and allowed by law for delinquent and unpaid real property taxes. Monies for assessable costs collected in this manner shall be delivered to the Township Fire Department pursuant to § 150-7 above.
In addition to those rights and remedies set forth in this chapter, the Township shall be entitled to pursue any other remedy or may institute any appropriate action or proceeding in a court of competent jurisdiction as permitted by law to collect assessable costs from a responsible party.
The recovery of assessable costs pursuant hereto does not limit the liability of a responsible party under other applicable local, state or federal law.
Nothing in this chapter shall authorize the Fire Chief or any Township personnel to refuse or delay fire service to any person, firm, or corporation that has not paid for service or that owes for previous services.