By LeAnn R. Ralph
BOYCEVILLE — The Boyceville Community Fire District Board and the Ambulance District Board have both elected Boyceville Village President Gilbert Krueger as chair of the districts.
The fire district and the ambulance district elected Krueger at separate meetings held January 16 in the Boyceville village hall.
The Boyceville Community Fire District meeting included representation by board members from the Village of Boyceville and the Towns of Hay River, New Haven, Sherman, Stanton and Tiffany. The Village of Wheeler is part of the fire district, but there was no representation at the fire district meeting from Wheeler.
The Boyceville Community Ambulance District meeting included representation by board members from Boyceville, Hay River, New Haven, Stanton, Sherman, Sheridan and Tiffany.
Wheeler is not part of the ambulance district, but instead receives ambulance service from the Colfax Rescue Squad.
Krueger was the only candidate nominated for the chair position in both districts and was elected on a unanimous vote.
Boyceville Fire Chief Brian Marlette reported that the fire department had gone out on 75 runs in 2012, which was about the same as the past two or three years.
So far in 2013, the fire department has gone out on four runs, including providing mutual aid to the Colfax for the January 12 fire at St. John Lutheran Church (Popple Creek) that burned the church to the ground.
The Boyceville fire department currently has 28 members and has three new applicants who have not yet been approved, Marlette said.
The fire department is considering the possibility of writing a grant application to purchase a Jaws of Life unit. The existing unit is at least 15 years old, and a new unit would cost between $25,000 and $30,000, he said.
The department’s existing extrication equipment could be sold to another fire department, Marlette said.
“There are other unfortunate fire departments out there that don’t have anything,” he said.
“It’s something to think about. We want to watch our money, but we also need good equipment,” Krueger said.
Car accidents that require more extrication equipment seem to be increasing, Marlette noted.
Marlette said the fire department has been considering purchasing another fire engine next year, although the current fire engine is operating well.
Instead of an updated fire engine, the department could instead use the money to purchase a heavy-duty rescue vehicle to carry the extrication equipment, he said.
“Engine 2 is tight. There’s no place for more equipment,” Marlette said.
The fire department would not be buying a new heavy-duty rescue vehicle, he said.
“In the bigger cities, they rotate their trucks every two to five years. Buying a used (rescue vehicle) would not be a problem,” Marlette said.
As for a new fire station, Marlette said he would like to see “something done” about a new station within five years.
The existing fire station is tight quarters, and three or four people are needed to get trucks in or out, requiring several people to drive the trucks and several people to guide the drivers, he said.
Colfax called for a tender for the Popple Creek church fire, and three or four trucks needed to be moved to get to the tender, Marlette said.
When asked how Boyceville compares to surrounding fire departments in terms of the number of trucks, Marlette said they were “all about in the same group” with approximately ten trucks.
The Colfax fire department faced the same situation with extremely tight quarters for fire trucks and built a new fire station in 2012.
“Don’t get me wrong. We are grateful for what we have. Many fire departments have a lot less,” Marlette said.
Other fire business
In other business, the Boyceville Community Fire Department Board:
• Learned that there will be a table top exercise with Dunn County Emergency Planning from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on February 18 at the Stanton Town Hall to help prepare for severe weather events.
• Approved pay increases for firefighter meetings by $10, for a total of $20 per meeting, and approved a total increase of $1,000 for officers’ pay.
• Adopted the 2013 budget of $104,950, which represents an increase of about $5,000 over the 2012 budget of $99,600. The $5,000 includes the increase of $1,000 for officers’ pay; $1,500 for firemen’s reimbursement; $500 for gas, oil and tires; and $2,000 for supplies.
• Accepted the financial statements for 2011 and 2012, which included receipts of $122,505 for 2012 and $108,994 for 2011. Total disbursements for 2012 were $69,228 and for 2011 were $88,732
• Approved doing a “short audit” for 2013 at a cost of approximately $1,200. A full audit would cost $3,500.
• Set the next meeting date for February 13 at 6:30 p.m.
The Boyceville Community Ambulance District Board was unable to conduct quite as much business as they had planned since Matt Feeney, ambulance director, was unable to attend because he was ill with influenza.
Krueger wondered why, when receipts for 2012 were listed as $280,082 and disbursements were listed as $243,478 that the ambulance district only had a little more than $3,500 on hand.
Cindy Swanepoel, village clerk and clerk for the fire and ambulance districts, noted that the uncollectible accounts for 2012 amounted to $45,000, and the amount was expected to be $60,000 for 2013.
Swanepoel also noted that the workers’ compensation insurance increased when the ambulance service went to a 24-hour-per-day, seven-days-per-week service.
The wages increased, so the workers’ compensation insurance increased because it is based on a percentage of the wages, she said.
In other business, the ambulance district board approved the proposed budget for 2013 of $286,806, which compares to the 2012 adopted budget of $262,450 and the actual budget of $243,478.
The 2013 budget shows an increase of $10,000 for ambulance driver and EMT wages; an increase of $500 for vehicle repair and maintenance; an increase of about $5,000 for supplies; an increase of $500 for protective clothing; an increase of about $8,000 for insurance; an increase of $1,000 for LifeQuest collection fees; an increase of about $13,000 for the Race Street operation costs, which includes the purchase price of the former Chevrolet garage facility.
At the January 14 meeting, the Boyceville Village Board approved borrowing $248,000 from the state trust fund to finance the remodeling of the Chevrolet garage for the ambulance service.
At the January 16 meeting, the ambulance district board approved an intergovernmental promissory note for the state trust fund loan that the village board had approved.
The ambulance district board also approved doing a “short audit” for $1,200 for this year and approved the financial statements for 2011, showing receipts of $236,658 and disbursements of $263,377, and for 2012, showing receipts of $280,082 and disbursements of $243,478.
The Boyceville Community Ambulance District meets next on February 13 following the fire district meeting.