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At Thursday night's Council meeting, Jackson residents called out a glaring hypocrisy - Council members demanding that the fire department cut their budgets despite that the Council recently increased their own salaries. 

All three fire districts in the township held their annual elections in February. The elections were for voters to choose Commissioners, approve or reject the budgets, and to approve or reject purchasing new fire apparatus, including a $1 million fire truck.

Voters across all three districts rejected the budgets, which would have increased taxes.

In such an instance, state law requires governing bodies of the municipality to hold a public hearing and set an appropriate budget for the fire districts.

The Jackson Township Council intends to hold a public hearing at the next meeting. In the meantime, they invited the fire officials for an open discussion on their budget needs.

Immediately at the onset, Council President Jennifer Kuhn urged the Commissioners to take $350,000 out of their budgets. Ms. Kuhn specifically called out the high cost of purchasing new vehicles.

Fire officials spoke logically and passionately, imploring the Council to support their entire budget with no cuts. They explained that the cost of vehicles and gear continues to escalate enormously and what costs $1 million today will cost an additional $250,000 in just another couple of years, therefore there will actually no saving at all by pushing off today's proposed spending.

A number of residents also beseeched the Council to support the fire budgets, noting that the budgets were only rejected due to a small majority.

One resident specifically called out the Council for demanding cuts to the fire budgets shortly after giving themselves a nearly 400% increase.

Another resident told the Council, "if need be, cut the police department budget, but don't touch the fire budgets."

Ultimately, after some more haggling, council members committed to approving budgets with $140-170,000 cuts. A public hearing and final setting of the final budget amount will be held next month.

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