Rural Contract Between BD Fire Department And Townships Is Nearing Agreement

(Beaver Dam) An agreement is close on a new five-year contract between the Beaver Dam Fire Department and the five townships that contract services with the city. The townships of Calamus, Lowell, Westford, Trenton and Beaver Dam comprise the Beaver Dam Community Fire and Rescue Association, and at their meeting last night both sides reviewed the latest contract along with a separate water and ice rescue contribution agreement. A primary sticking point over the past few months has been the townships role in contributing to costs associated with the replacement of deteriorating water rescue equipment owned by the city. Township officials maintain that state statute places the responsibility of water rescue at the county level but have acknowledged during negotiations the importance of the service. The agreement offers $55,720, which 25-percent of the total cost to upgrade the equipment, split five-ways and payable over five years beginning in 2018. The city has already included its portion in its borrowing plan for this year. There is still a chance that the county funds a portion of water rescue in future budgets and if that is the case the townships would see 25-percent of their contribution returned. However, that wording will be broadened. Township attorney Sean Donohue says language will be inserted to allow any type of revenues, including grants or other donations, to be eligible for reimbursement. Beaver Dam Fire Chief Alan Mannel says that it seems fair to expand the type of revenues that could lead to the townships contribution being reimbursed. Town of Beaver Dam Chair Neal Stippich says he is comfortable with the contract being presented. Each township board and the city council has to sign off on the contract which will be brought back before the rural fire association in one month. While the contract expired at years end, a contract extension is in place through the end of February.