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By LeAnn R. Ralph
BOYCEVILLE — The Boyceville Community Fire District board has hired Karen Adams, deputy clerk for the village of Boyceville, as clerk-treasurer for the fire district and also has approved a budget for 2020 of $189,018.
The Boyceville fire board approved hiring Adams at the October 16 meeting at a salary of $500 per month.
Darlene Lee, the Village of Boyceville’s clerk-treasurer, has been serving as the clerk-treasurer for the Boyceville fire district as well.
At the August 14 fire district meeting, Lee said perhaps it was time for the fire district to think about hiring a clerk-treasurer.
The fire district has been paying the village for Lee’s services at $1,500 per year for an estimated 12 to 15 hours per month, although more hours are needed during development of the budget and at the end of the year.
The compensation to the village does not take into account the use of the village’s office space, computers and other equipment.
The annual cost of the fire district clerk-treasurer’s wages is approximately $3,400, with the deficit of about $1,900 being covered by the village, according to information Lee distributed to fire board members in August.
Lee noted that she and Adams both have done work for the fire district.
Duties for the fire district clerk-treasurer include monthly payroll, W-2s, quarterly 941/unemployment, 2 percent fire dues, prepare for the annual audit, reconcile checkbook and savings account, bill annual assessments and fire truck payments, budget, pay bills and run checks, bill for fire runs, update fire runs spreadsheet, receipt deposits, prepare and post agendas, daily mail and answer telephone calls and e-mail, according to the information Lee provided.
The past year has been “a big workload” with the extra work related to the construction of the new fire station, and the situation has been “a chaotic mess,” Lee said at the August meeting.
The Boyceville Community Fire District Board unanimously approved hiring Adams.
The Boyceville fire district includes the towns of Hay River, New Haven, Stanton, Tiffany, Sherman and the villages of Wheeler and Boyceville.
Wheeler did not have a representative at the October 16 meeting.
The Boyceville fire board approved a budget of $189,018.95 for 2020, which is several thousand dollars less than the budget of $192,000 for 2019.
Corey Green, Boyceville fire chief, noted he had decreased revenue by $6,000 for fire calls paid by the service area due to the high number of mutual aid calls Boyceville has responded to this year, from $26,000 for 2019 to $20,000 for 2020.
The amount “probably should have been more,” Green said.
“Our mutual aid … is killing us,” he said.
Out of 65 calls for service so far this year, 25 of those calls are mutual aid with no money coming in for those calls, Green said.
Mutual aid calls tend to be five or six hours and not just a short call for service, he said.
According to information Green provided to the fire board, the mutual aid calls have included six to Glenwood City (one miscellaneous, four structure and 1 garbage/grass/brush); one call to Prairie Farm for a structure fire; two calls to Colfax, one for a miscellaneous fire and one for a structure fire; 13 mutual aid calls to Menomonie (three miscellaneous and 10 structure fires); and one structure fire each to Durand, Knapp and St. Croix County.
Boyceville has not received any mutual aid this year from other departments, according to the information Green provided.
New fire station
Construction on the new fire station is expected to be completed by the end of November, and Green said he had no idea how much to budget for the operation of the new fire station
Under “department supplies and expense,” Green initially included $19,000 in the 2020 budget, an increase from $4,500 in 2019, because he said he did not know how much it would cost for utilities and other expenses in the new building.
The fire department pays the village of Boyceville $16,000 per year for rent for the fire station downtown, and the $16,000 has been moved to department supplies and expense.
The line item for protective equipment and clothing was reduced to $12,000 for 2020, from $20,000 for 2019, because the fire department had purchased some new turn-out gear in 2019, Green said.
Legal fees and licensing was reduced from $3,000 for 2019 to zero dollars for 2020, he said.
Fire board members decided the budget should have some money for legal fees since the district is planning to amend the agreement for the Boyceville Community Fire District.
The current agreement includes provisions pertaining to the Village of Boyceville clerk-treasurer working for the fire district as well as other provisions that must be updated.
Fire board members briefly discussed the idea of adding a provision about payments if another municipality wanted to join the fire district and a provision for municipalities that may want to leave the fire district.
The Boyceville fire board approved a motion adding $1,000 for legal expenses and deducting $1,000 from department supplies and expense and approved the 2020 budget of $189,018.95.
The Boyceville Community Fire District Board approved the following assessments for 2020:
• Town of Hay River — $23,623 (22 percent of property value in the fire district), compared to $22,156 for 2019.
• Town of New Haven — $15,341 (87 percent of the township in the Boyceville fire district), (14 percent of the property value in the fire district), compared to $14,183 for 2019.
• Town of Sherman — $14,960 (51 percent of the township in the Boyceville fire district), (13 percent of the property value), compared to $13,631 for 2019.
• Town of Stanton — $23,167 (21 percent of the property value), compared to $21,294 for 2019.
• Town of Tiffany — $12,145 (72 percent of the township in the Boyceville fire district) (11 percent of the property value in the district), compared to $11,110 for 2019.
• Village of Boyceville — $18,263 (16 percent of the property value in the fire district), compared to $16,978 for 2019.
• Village of Wheeler — $3,751 (3 percent of the property value in the fire district), compared to $3,398 for 2019.
The total assessment for 2020 is $111, 250, compared to $102,750 for 2019.
The Boyceville Community Fire District Board also received information, for budgeting purposes, about the payments that will be due from each township for the new fire truck purchased by the Boyceville fire department.
A final statement, containing any changes in interest due, will be issued early in 2020.
• Town of Hay River — $8,228.10.
• Town of New Haven — $5,343.48.
• Town of Sherman — $5,210.71.
• Town of Stanton — $8,069.07.
• Town of Tiffany — zero dollars (paid in full to Peoples State Bank June 3, 2019).
• Village of Boyceville — $6,361.26.
• Village of Wheeler — $1,306.33.
The total payment for the fire truck in 2020 will be $34,518.95.
The Boyceville Community Fire District Board meets next on November 13 at 6:30 p.m.
The fire board also scheduled a five-year planning committee meeting for November 6 at 5:30 p.m.