Roseville millage renewal joins candidates on primary ballot

By: Kevin Bunch | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published February 16, 2016

 A stretcher is pulled out of the ambulance at the Roseville Fire Department. An advanced life support system is designed to provide emergency-room-level care until the patient can arrive at a hospital.

A stretcher is pulled out of the ambulance at the Roseville Fire Department. An advanced life support system is designed to provide emergency-room-level care until the patient can arrive at a hospital.

Photo by John McTaggart

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ROSEVILLE — Voters headed to the polls March 8 will have the chance to choose their preferred candidates in the Republican and Democratic parties’ presidential primaries, but Roseville residents also have a millage renewal to consider.

According to City Clerk Richard Steenland, when voters come to their polling stations, they will need to choose either a Republican ballot or a Democratic ballot. In Roseville, both of those ballots will include a millage renewal proposal for the city’s advanced life support service, and voters who do not want to weigh in on the presidential primaries can get a nonpartisan ballot with only that millage renewal listed.

The Republican Party ballot will feature Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Lindsey Graham, Mike Huckabee, John Kasich, George Pataki, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum, Donald Trump and Jeb Bush, as well as an “uncommitted” box.

On the Democratic Party ballot, voters can choose between Hillary Clinton, Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente, Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders, or vote “uncommitted.”

Some of those candidates have since suspended their campaigns.

Steenland said voters do not need to belong to either political party — or register for either of them — to vote in the primary.

“In this particular case, you’re not registering as a Republican or a Democrat,” Steenland said. “Some people think they’re registering themselves, but that information (of what ballot is requested) is not plugged into anything.”

The Roseville millage renewal is for the existing rate of 0.35 mills and would fund the city’s advanced life support ambulance service. The millage would run for another 20 years; 1 mill is the equivalent of $1 per $1,000 of taxable value on a property.

Roseville Fire Battalion Chief Scott Bala, who also serves as president of the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 614, said at a City Council meeting Feb. 9 that the average cost per homeowner would continue to be about $15-$17 annually, and he reiterated that this would not increase tax rates on anyone in the city.

“When we talk about advanced life support versus basic life support, these are services that are usually performed in an emergency room,” Bala said. “We’re bringing them to your living room, the streets or in the car.”

These include dealing with cardiac issues and airway procedures — activities that are best to get started quickly, Bala said. Emergency personnel also can get data to the hospital before arrival so that doctors can be prepared for a patient.

Since the millage’s inception in 1996, Bala said, the city has expanded from two ambulances to three and has added two advanced life support fire engines that serve a supplementary role with the ambulances on runs.

“If ambulances are extremely busy, we will send that engine prior to the ambulances arriving,” Bala said. “While we’re waiting, you get two or three paramedics with the same equipment.”

He said they hope to continue upgrading to new technologies going forward, should the millage be renewed.

Last November, Fire Chief Mike Holland said that the service is better than going with a private company’s ambulance service since more Fire Department staff can go on a run. As a result, a person could see four or five paramedics on a call.

If the millage fails, Holland said, the Fire Department would face a shortfall in its budget and need to make cuts elsewhere to continue providing ambulance service.

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