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Hammond proposes to shift fire protection costs to utility bills

Fire protection rates in the Village of Hammond might be changing in February.

Currently, the cost is split between the Village and citizen's water bills. If approved, all the cost would be covered through utility bills.

That change is proposed for a few reasons, said Village Clerk Kelly Brett. The change will make everyone paying a utility bill in Hammond responsible for part of the cost for fire protection. Currently, homeowners are footing more of the bill than businesses and schools.

Additionally, money needed to be cut from the Village's 2009 budget, Brett said.

Fire protection costs about $64,000 each year. If the change is approved, that cost will be split by about 750 utility accounts. The amount per account depends on meter size, Brett added.

There will be a public hearing on the matter on Jan. 22 at 9 a.m. in the Village Hall.

The meeting will be conducted by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, which will appear by phone.

The Commission considers it necessary, in order to carry out its duties, to investigate all books, accounts, practices and activities of the Hammond Municipal Water Utility.

The public is invited to attend the hearing.

Brett said a notice about the meeting and procedures will be mailed to all Village residents.