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Williams Bay likely backing out of fire partnership

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Kayla Bunge
February 11, 2010
— Williams Bay might be backing out of a proposal to partner with two nearby townships to provide emergency services in the area.

Even so, at least one town official says he still wants to explore the idea.


McGrath Consulting Group of Wonder Lake, Ill., recently suggested the fire and rescue services in Williams Bay, Geneva Township and Linn Township form a partnership and build a station at Highway 50 and Geneva Street.


The consultant recommended the municipalities split construction and staffing costs.


The Williams Bay Village Board on Monday will consider a recommendation from its protective services committee to inform Geneva and Linn townships that the village is not interested in a cooperative fire and rescue arrangement.


George Vlach, chairman of the committee, said the costs outweigh the benefits.


The expense of a shared fire station and full-time responders is too high, he said. The village would be looking at a construction expense of more than $300,000 and an annual staffing expense of about $60,000, he said.


The benefit would be improved response times to calls in the village, he said.


“We looked at our response times, and we felt that, as far as protecting the village, we do not have any issues with them,” he said.


Vlach said the village must consider its need for a new fire station to replace its existing station, which is inadequate and outdated, and to provide better emergency protection as the village grows.


“Building one and one-third stations is not the right way for the village to go,” he said.


Linn and Geneva Township officials likely will continue discussing a plan for shared emergency protection even if Williams Bay doesn’t participate.


Linn Town Chairman Dave Bollweg said the town will have to look at its options.


“I think we will continue to talk to Geneva Township,” he said. “We need to explore all of our options, but I certainly am interested in doing something.”


Geneva Town Chairman Dan Lauderdale could not be reached Wednesday for comment.


Vlach said the village still would be open to providing emergency response to the townships, both of which contract for services.


“If they request our services, then we will sit down and discuss with them what they need and if we can supply it,” he said.



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