MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, Mich. - It is now up to the city of Muskegon to decide if they will accept the deal and contract with Muskegon Heights for fire protection.
On Monday night June 11, Muskegon Heights City Council agreed to offer Muskegon fire, rescue and medical response services for about $3.5 million per year.
Muskegon inquired about contracting with the Muskegon Heights Fire Department when they were unable negotiate contract concessions from their own fire department. The vote to offer the contract was six to two. Opponents on Muskegon Heights Council say they are reluctant to meddle in Muskegon’s union issues.
“Between their city and their bargaining unit,” says council member Andre Williams, “Whatever the issue is, here we are saying we will take care of it. That's horrible.”
Council member Bonnie McGlothin voted to offer the contract, but suspects Muskegon is using the threat of Muskegon Heights to get concessions from their firefighter’s union.
“And we are just stuck in the middle,” she says. “I think there is an ulterior motive behind it, and that is breaking the union.”
Muskegon Heights would earn $300,000 in the first year of a contract to provide fire protection to Muskegon. They have not given Muskegon a deadline to respond to the proposal, but the contract for services would take effect January 1, 2019.
“We may only get past the proposal stage and say this isn’t going to be a good fit,” says Muskegon Heights Mayor Kimberley Sims. “But I feel like this is a good opportunity to start dialogue on how we could work better together. This at least gives us the opportunity to get the conversation started.”
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