Star Prairie Town discusses fire calls, Cedar LakeThe Star Prairie Town Board had a lot of things on its collective mind at the meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 7.
By: By Julia Ybarra-Young, New Richmond News
The Star Prairie Town Board had a lot of things on its collective mind at the meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 7.
Jim Vanderwyst, New Richmond Fire chief, addressed the board about collecting money for the fire calls.
They said that they had had difficulties in the past about collecting fees.
“Our biggest concerns with the car crashes are that now the rescue squad will be responding,” said Vanderwyst. “They charge a rescue fee for tools used off the squad and they are very expensive.”
Doug Rivard, town chairman, said that he has had complaints from residents who are charged hundreds of dollars for a fire call, regardless of how many people are working. He cited one resident who was charged $500 when a power line was down.
“We pay our firefighters $13.88 an hour — there are no raises this year,” said Vanderwyst. “Any firefighter who answers the page and goes to the station should be compensated, even if they are not able to go to the scene (because the trucks are full).”
“If seven go out and fourteen are sitting in the fire hall, it’s hard to swallow,” responded Rivard.
The board discussed not billing residents per call and instead just building it into the tax base, like the nearby communities of Somerset and New Richmond. The cost per resident would be approximately $1.88. The board will put it on the agenda for further discussion next month.
John Harrison, resident, suggested that the town consider having a regional fire department in the near future.
“A year and a half ago I needed the fire department and it took 16 minutes before New Richmond got there,” he said. “Somerset Fire/Rescue is only 2.2. miles away from my doorstep. When I call, I want Somerset right there.”
Steve and Bob Kaufman of Cedar Lake Speedway spoke to the board about the application they submitted to St. Croix County for special event camping.
Scott Counter, board member, expressed concern that Cedar Lake Speedway’s five-year proposal addressed expanding camping.
“Our biggest concern is that we want to be sure things are done right,” said Counter. “If we start pushing campers by the water; we’ve had issues with the neighbors in the past.”
The Kaufmans told the board they had no intention right now of expanding the camping sites.
“We got the permit to create more parking to alleviate having cars park on the road,” said the Kautfmans.
The Kaufmans had mentioned in their county application that they hope to expand camping, though they did not specify when. Counter said that caught his eye when the county showed the town the application. The Kaufmans allowed that they probably did not word their intention accurately and asked for the town’s assistance with installing a dump site.
In other news:
• The board voted 4-1 to appoint Michael Burke to the newly combined position of clerk/treasurer for a three-year term beginning in April 2011. Supervisor Patty Schachtner voted against the motion.
• The board discussed the county's recent decision to cut approximately $320,000 from the nursing home budget. They decided to write a letter in support of reinstating the nursing home financing.
• Tami Waalen and John Siggens, representatives of the Somerset Youth Baseball Association, asked for a $600 donation to improve their ball fields. The board approved.
• A resident expressed concern about a rented house in the area of Thrush Drive. He said a vehicle had been abandoned there, and it is on the town’s road. The board said they can have it towed.