By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — Which budget and tax levy has stayed virtually the same for the past six years?
If you answered the budget and tax levy of the Colfax Community Fire Department, you would be correct.
The Colfax Community Fire District Board approved a budget of $112,700 for 2018 with a tax levy of $94,700 at a meeting held October 12.
The approved budget and tax levy for 2018 was the same amount for the budget and levy in 2017.
The budget also was $112,700 with a levy of $94,700 in 2016 and 2015.
In 2013, the budget was $110,700 with a levy of $94,700, and in 2012, the budget was $112,060 with a levy of $94,900.
Don Logslett, who has served as fire chief since 2008, said he is always mindful of the budget and the taxpayers in the fire district and keeping the budget and levy as consistent as he can.
The Colfax fire district built a new fire station in 2012.
The Village of Colfax and the Towns of Colfax, Grant and Otter Creek are included in the Colfax fire district.
“I’m really pleased that we’ve kept the levy constant for so many years,” said Mark Warner, chair of the Town of Otter Creek.
Although some of the line items are over budget for 2017, the overall budget is expected to have a surplus at the end of the year, Logslett said.
The 2016 budget had a surplus of $9,000, and the fire board agreed to put the leftover money into the vehicle replacement account.
“We have a good group of firefighters,” Logslett noted, adding that the average age of the Colfax firefighters is around 30 years old.
At the end of 2016, the vehicle replacement account contained $194,409.99.
The Colfax Community Fire District budget sets aside $20,000 per year for the vehicle replacement account.
A brand new fire truck for the Colfax fire department would cost between $300,000 and $400,000.
The fire department is planning to buy a new fire truck sometime within the next two or three years.
The existing fire engine was a demonstration model and was purchased in 1994.
The Colfax Community Fire District Board unanimously approved the budget and the levy for 2018.
In addition to Warner representing Otter Creek, Gary Stene, village president, represents the village of Colfax. Gary Bjork, town supervisor, represents the Town of Colfax. Mark Dietsche, town chair, represents the Town of Grant.
The tax levy for 2018, based on the percentage of equalized value in the municipalities, are as follows:
• Town of Colfax (equalized value of $77.89 million, representing 37.8 percent of the equalized value in the fire district) — $35,781.23.
• Village of Colfax (equalized value of $59.55 million, representing 24.5 percent of the equalized value) — $23,219.53.
• Town of Grant (equalized value of $37.55 million, representing 18.2 percent of the equalized value) — $17,249.75.
• Town of Otter Creek (equalized value of $40.16 million, representing 19.5 percent of the equalized value) — $18,449.48.
Fire Chief Logslett presented a variety of statistics to the fire board about the operations of the Colfax Community Fire Department.
So far for 2017, the fire department has gone out on 23 runs, which compares to a total number of 18 runs for 2016; 17 runs for 2015; 25 runs for 2014; and 27 runs for 2013.
The fire runs to date for this year include two grass fires; one structure fire; three false alarms; zero down power lines; six car accidents; four gas leaks/carbon monoxide; and seven pool fills.
Within the last five years, the largest number of structure fires occurred in 2013 with eight. In 2014, there were five structure fires. In 2015, 2016 and 2017, each year had one structure fire.
Within the last five years, the largest number of car accidents occurred in 2014 with eight, while 2015 and 2016 each had four car accidents and 2013 had seven.
As of October 1, the Colfax Community Fire Department had devoted 124 hours to fighting fires; 55 hours to Emergency Medical Service; 114 hours of mutual aid; 100 hours of training; and 188 hours of meetings.
In 2016, the fire department had 190 fire hours; 24 EMS hours; 67 mutual aid hours; 109 training hours; and 182 meeting hours.
In 2015, the fire department had 176 fire hours; 45 EMS hours; 305 mutual aid hours; 158 training hours; 215 meeting hours.
In 2014, the fire department had 232 fire hours; 52 EMS hours; 228 mutual aid hours; 159 training hours; and 195 meeting hours.
In 2013, the fire department had 1,147 fire hours; 75 EMS hours; 347 mutual aid hours; 562 training hours; and 180 meeting hours.
In 2012, the Colfax fire department had 524 fire hours; 78 EMS hours; 219 mutual aid hours; 305 training hours; 212 meeting hours; and 133 special duty hours (moving to the new fire station).