Thornapple Township Supervisor Mike Bremer confirmed that David Middleton, long-time member of Thornapple Township Emergency Services and chief for the last several years, is no longer working in TTES for the township.
“He’s not working for us anymore,” Bremer said April 22. “A big part of that is the budget. The emergency service budget is struggling and this is a big part of correcting that.”
Before Middleton was full time, he worked part time, “and that worked well,” Bremer said.
Deputy Chief Randy Eaton has agreed to be interim chief on a part-time basis. “The fire trucks will continue to roll, so will the ambulances,” Bremer said. “The existing officers, staff and paid on-call personnel all know their jobs and are stepping up and doing a little extra.”
The recent changes by the state in personal property taxes will take money from municipalities, and was not supposed to hurt emergency services, but TTES will lose $27,000 this year; the first of five years of cuts that will phase out the tax entirely, Bremer said.
The state is supposed to reimburse emergency services, but Bremer is skeptical of that, “fixing the difficult financial position the department is in.”
The TTES service area was originally Thornapple and Yankee Springs townships and part of Irving Township.
TTES lost more revenue when Yankee Springs Township contracted with Wayland Fire Department and Wayland Area Ambulance Service for fire protection and ambulance service, effective April. 1.
Eaton has agreed to “help us over the hump,” for the next several months; position and pay will be discussed later, Bremer said.
Middleton did not immediately return a voice message asking for comment.