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Town and village discuss fire commission structure

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New Richmond, 54017
New Richmond News
715-246-7117 customer support
New Richmond Wisconsin 127 South Knowles Avenue 54017

The joint Somerset boards met on Tuesday, Jan. 25, at the Town Hall to discuss the fire/rescue commission.

Currently, Tom Roy serves as chairman, Rita Lawson as secretary, Doug Plourde as the elected town citizen representative, Bartt Palmer as the elected village citizen representative and Mike Hammer and Mike Hanks as the appointed fire/rescue representatives.

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The prompt for the discussion was that Hammer and Hanks were not showing up for the quarterly meetings. Jeff Johnson, village president, said he would check into reappointing new representatives.

The question was brought up regarding the lengths of terms people could serve on the commission.

According Jeri Koester, town clerk, the term of service is two years and citizen members should be appointed every two years. Both Roy and Lawson have served at least five years.

"I just brought this up because someone from the town wants to be on the commission," said Travis Belisle, Somerset Fire/Rescue chief.

"We do need to set up a system," said Lawson.

Since Roy is from the Town of Somerset, Johnson asked if there was any need to rotate the fire commission chairperson from the town to the village.

"I hadn't given it much thought," said Ed Schachtner, town chairman.

The boards decided to have the fire commission look over their own terms before the next meeting.

Also discussed was the budget split between the village and town for the Fire/Rescue Department. Currently, the town is footing a slightly larger percentage of the budget. However, they wanted to see if the village's responsibility should increase due to the number of calls and other factors. The boards decided to table the issue until the village could do its re-evaluation so it could have more recent numbers.

Another issue was the 180th Avenue and Parnell Street agreement. The town has been working to update the roads, but the village is looking at the possibility of annexing the area within the next 10 years, should they get the safe routes to school grant. The town didn't want to pour money into improvements if the land was going to fall under village domain.

"We blacktopped 190th Street and you (the village) took it over right after and it was like 'well, thanks,'" said Schatchner.

"We don't expect you to make it up to our standards and we just take it," said Johnson. "That's why we get an agreement in place."

He said the village board would discuss it at their February meeting.

In other news:

• Johnson and Belisle informed the town that the village has paid the Fire/Rescue Department the money for the 2010 Country Splash work. The village paid approximately $5,000 to compensate the department; however, Belisle said that they are still owed for their work in 2008 by the concert owners. He commented that he doubted he would ever see that money.

• The boards decided to hold their next joint meeting on Tuesday, April 26, at the Village Hall. The public is welcome to attend.

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Tom Lindfors
(715) 243-7767 x245
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