Zorn supports cost-saving tools for local emergency services authorities

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn on Thursday voted for legislation to allow emergency services authorities to use installment purchase agreements or issue bonds. Zorn co-sponsored the bill and led its approval earlier by the Senate Local Government Committee.

“This bill would give local emergency authorities an opportunity to save taxpayer dollars by allowing them to use more cost-effective options when buying property or new equipment, like fire trucks, ambulances and police cars,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “Emergency services are some of the most important things government does, but they can sometimes be very difficult in rural and less-populated areas. Communities that decide to form an authority to provide these services and share the cost shouldn’t face increased costs for necessary equipment.”

Zorn said the law currently does not allow emergency services authorities to use installment purchase agreements to buy real or personal property, which means if they needed to purchase an ambulance, they would need to use a lease with an option to purchase.

Local emergency services authorities are entities formed by two or more local governments to provide fire, police, EMS, or other emergency health or safety services in their communities.

Senate Bill 821 would allow local emergency services authorities to enter into installment purchase agreements and issue bonds. Installments to buy real or personal property would not be permitted to exceed 15 years or “the useful life of the property acquired,” whichever is less.

The bill has been sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.