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Brownton Council, Collins Township debate fire service contract

The Collins Town Board approached the Brownton City Council Monday night about reducing the amount it pays the city for fire protection for the nine township sections that are in the Brownton Fire District.
The fire department serves the city of Brownton, as well as portions of Collins, Sumter, Round Grove and Penn townships.
The township contends that the price it is charged for fire protection is far more than it is charged for sections in the Stewart and Hutchinson fire districts.
The cost share between the city and the four townships is based on estimated market valuation which, in part, is how property taxes are determined.
The township contends that the valuations are inflated because of the lakeshore property on Lake Marion, and that it deserves credit for that.
Grant Hatten, a member of the Collins Township Board, said that a home and property right on the lakeshore is valued more highly than a similar home “right across the road,” but not on the lakeshore.
He said that it doesn’t cost any more to put out a fire next to the lake than one across the road.
Figures provided by the township contends that Brownton is charging up to four times as much per section as the other two departments. According to the township, it is charged $1,718 per section for its sections in the Brownton fire district, $283 per section for sections in the Stewart district, and $436 per section for sections in the Hutchinson district.
Shannon Jerabek, a resident who lives along Lake Marion, pointed out that the lakeshore homes, though, generate more revenue for the township because of their higher value.
For about the dispute over the payment formula, see the Feb. 7 print edition of The Chronicle.