(Beaver Dam) Beaver Dam Mayor Becky Glewen says a referendum to fund six new positions in the fire department is expected to be considered by the council in time to make it to the November ballot. However, Glewen told us this week on WBEV’s Community Comment that, in her opinion, there has not been enough due diligence done to justify moving forward with the referendum at this time.
“I’m not against a referendum entirely, I just don’t think the proper work has been done,” she says, “I totally think that it needs to be a collaborative effort across the county and not on the backs of city taxpayers only.”
As numbers shrink in volunteer fire departments nationwide, a number of local stakeholder groups are looking at the possibility of countywide emergency service consolidations. Glewen says there also needs to be a closer look at two functions of the Beaver Dam Fire Department: the Paramedic Intercept and Interfacility Transport programs. With a paramedic intercept, Beaver Dam personnel meet ambulances from outlying communities, that have agreements with the city, to provide a higher level of care during emergency situations. Interfacility transports generate revenue for Beaver Dam by transporting patients between health care facilities during non-emergency situations if personnel are available. Beaver Dam is mid contract with five townships for some of the emergency services and there is revenue from others communities not covered under specific contracts but Glewen is concerned that the additional costs with new personnel approved by referendum would fail to cover the new expenses.
The hiring’s that comprise the referendum were the conclusion of a study released earlier this year on staffing and the construction of a northside substation; the second station would not be part of the referendum. Fire Chief Alan Mannel is hoping to see the council sign-off on the referendum before August 25th, the deadline to get a question on the November ballot.