Walworth County seeks fire and EMS solutions

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Xavier Ward
Thursday, February 16, 2017

ELKHORN—Walworth County's 2017 budget includes $35,000 to draft a county-wide fire and EMS commission to examine the way county municipalities deliver fire and EMS services.

While municipalities are tasked with providing their own fire and EMS services, the county wants to help improve these services if it can, according to County Administrator David Bretl's comments in the budget.

It's an idea that has been “kicking around for some time,” Bretl said. 

“We all work very closely together in mutual aid,” said Dave Nelson, assistant fire chief of the Lauderdale-La Grange Fire Department.

Many departments across Walworth County work very closely with one another, but they have substantially different needs the commission will have to account for, Nelson said.

Municipalities also have vastly different ways of operating, so the commission needs to consider that as well, he said.

Commission member Jim Weiss, the village administrator of Williams Bay, said it's too early to tell what exactly the commission will need to do.

“You need to take an inventory of what you have to know where you're going to go,” Weiss said.

“Overall, it's going to be a challenging and exciting adventure because of the diversity we have, from rural municipalities to large cities,” Weiss said.

The commission has three fire and EMS professionals, three municipal representatives, a county representative and two nonvoting members, according to a list of nominees provided by Bretl's office.

The county has also selected three alternate members.

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