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Boyceville fire district to seek attorney’s advice on finances for a new fire hall

By LeAnn R. Ralph

BOYCEVILLE  —  Members of the Boyceville Community Fire District have agreed to seek the advice of an attorney on drafting a basic agreement for financing a new fire station.

The Boyceville fire district approved seeking the advice of an attorney at the August 12 meeting.

Before the fire district can go much farther with plans to build a new fire station, the municipalities in the fire district must know how the financing will be set up to pay for a new fire station, said Rich Monn, the Town of Stanton’s representative on the fire district and chair of the fire district’s five-year planning committee.

The five-year planning committee met recently to discuss possible financing options, Monn noted.

“We need an agreement so that everyone agrees on how to handle (the finances),” he said.

Without an agreement between the municipalities, “we will keep going in circles,” Monn said.

“It’s a good first step in the process,” he said.

One option would be for the Village of Boyceville to be the borrower with the other municipalities signing on to pay their share of a new fire station.

Under that option, Boyceville’s debt limit would be tight, said Gilbert Krueger, chair of the fire district and Boyceville village president.

Another option would be for each municipality to finance the municipality’s portion of the fire station.

Municipalities in the fire district would pay according to their percentage of the equalized value in the fire district.

Questions also remain about whether each municipality would have to obtain the approval of the electorate — either through a binding referendum or a special town meeting — or whether each municipality’s representative on the fire district board could make the decision without seeking the approval of the electorate.

Another question is whether the approval would have to be unanimous, with each municipality agreeing to pay for a new fire station, or whether only a majority vote from the members representing the fire district would be sufficient.

Paul Wathke, representative for the Town of Sherman, said he was certain that Town of Sherman residents would want a referendum on the question.

Members of the fire district agreed that an attorney would be able to answer questions about the authority to approve building a new fire station, how the electors would fit in, and what the best option would be for a financing agreement.

“It would be easy to sell if people understand why it is needed,” said Mike Blechinger, representative for the Town of Tiffany.

“We are obligated by law to maintain a fire station,” Monn said.

Members of the fire district unanimously approved a motion to ask an attorney to speak to the fire district board to give legal advice and to make suggestions about an agreement that could be taken to the town boards and the Boyceville Village Board.

The municipalities in the Boyceville Community Fire District are the towns of Hay River, New Haven, Stanton, Tiffany, Sherman and the villages of Boyceville and Wheeler.

Other business

In other business, the Boyceville Community Fire District Board:

• Learned from Brian Marlette, fire chief, that the Boyceville fire department had gone out on 39 runs as of August 12.

• Learned that the fire district had acquired four new firefighters in the past month: two who are pre-qualified and two new members, bringing the total roster to 32.

• Learned that firefighters had washed and packed up used equipment the department no longer needs that will be donated to the Dominican Republic. Marlette said he only had to set up a time for the equipment to be picked up, and that the Boyceville fire department would not be responsible for paying any shipping costs.

• Learned that the fire district had $230,590 on hand as of August 12. The fire department received $7,217.22 in July and had expenses in July of $874 and so far in August had expenses of $358.83.

The Boyceville Community Fire District meets next on September 16 at 6:30 p.m. at the Boyceville Village Hall.