and value. Government officials are thus compelled to provide higher quality services as
they expand the number of services (Withers, 1994).
Local governments experiencing service growth are experiencing three types of
revenue shortage problems: (1) inadequate revenue to cover increased operating costs; (2)
not enough revenue to cover immediate costs of new facilities or equipment; and (3)
insufficient funds in appropriate accounts to meet the demand for services (Withers,
1994). The need to find alternative methods of funding emergency services is becoming
very apparent to government leaders. Traditional revenue sources (property taxes) are not
sufficient. Over the last fifteen years dissatisfaction among citizens over tax rates has
been growing (Withers, 1994). Michigan, like many other states, has witnessed taxpayer
discontent in the form of a tax reduction initiative.
The Headlee Amendment, adopted by Michigan voters in 1978, has had a
significant impact on funding for the Harrison Township Fire Department. Harvey
(1999), in a discussion regarding the provisions of the Headlee Ammendment, states “The
combination of capping property assessments and prohibiting millage increases will in the
long run significantly limit property tax collections for local units” (p.3). The researcher
concurs with the statements made by Harvey. As is shown in Table 1, the percentage of
Harrison Township Fire Department revenue generated by property taxes has steadily
declined since 1993. Further, the total revenue generated by property taxes has declined
from $ 2,888,607.00 in 1996 to $ 2,628,000.00 in 1998.
In addition to desiring lower taxes, a growing number of taxpayers believe that
they should pay only for the services they receive. Historically, the community has shared
its wealth so that all may receive basic necessities. Accommodating this “user pays”