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The following opinion is presented on-line for informational use only and does not replace the official version. (Mich Dept of Attorney General Web Site - www.ag.state.mi.us)



Opinion No. 5977

September 14, 1981


Imposition of service fee for fire protection to property of school district

A township may not impose a service charge or fee upon a school district for fire protection afforded school district property located within the township

Honorable Francis Spaniola

State Representative

The Capitol

Lansing, Michigan

You have inquired whether, pursuant to 1951 PA 33; MCLA 41.801 et seq; MSA 5.2640(1) et seq, Sec. 1(3), a township may impose a fee upon a school district for fire protection services.

In 1951 PA 33, supra, Secs. 1(3) and (10), the Legislature has authorized cities under 15,000 inhabitants, townships and incorporated villages to defray the operation of a fire department by both special assessments and collection of fees for services. It is noted that school district property used for public purposes is exempt from both general property taxes and special assessments. See 1893 PA 206, supra, Sec. 7m and 1976 PA 451, Sec. 1141; MCLA 380.1141; MSA 15.41141. 1951 PA 33, Sec. 1(3), supra, does not expressly authorize townships to impose fees upon school districts for fire protection services.

OAG, 1981-1982, No 5915, p 216 (June 5, 1981), concluded, inter alia, that a city may not, pursuant to 1951 PA 33, Sec. 1(3), supra, impose a fee upon another city for fire protection services relating to that other municipality's property located within its boundaries. In reaching that result, reliance was placed upon the statutory general property tax exemption for city property being used for public purposes and the case law proscribing special assessments against municipally-owned property in the absence of express statutory authorization imposing fees for such services. See, 1893 PA 206, Sec. 7m; MCLA 211.7m; MSA 7.7(4j), and Big Rapids v Mecosta County, 99 Mich 351, 353-354; 58 NW 358 (1894), respectively.

Thus, it must be concluded, in keeping with OAG No 5915, supra, that a township may not impose a fee upon a school district for fire protection services.

It is, therefore, my opinion that a township is without authority to impose a fee upon a school district for fire protection services under 1951 PA 33, Sec. 1(3), supra.

Frank J. Kelley

Attorney General

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