Brodhead explores forming fire district
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The Brodhead City Council will meet with members of the Brodhead Rural Fire Association to discuss the idea of forming a fire district at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Brodhead Fire Department, 1100 W. 3rd Ave., Brodhead.
BRODHEAD Forming a fire district in the Brodhead area might solve a months-long debate about future leadership and structure at the Brodhead Fire Department.
City leaders and the Brodhead Rural Fire Association have been discussing what to do since July, when the city council voted not to renew former Chief Jay Bohan's contract.
Officials haven't decided if a new chief will be full or part time, and association members have been fighting against what they feel is "taxation without representation."
Discussion on forming a fire district started last month, and officials plan to hear more about how it would work at a meeting Tuesday night.
Mayor Doug Pinnow said he thinks people are interested in the idea and need to learn more.
"Most of us don't know much about that," he said.
Pinnow said he's been pushing for a decision on the chief situation "for a long time."
"Maybe that's the best thing (forming a district), so we can all work together and make it work," he said.
The association represents towns covered by the fire department outside the city. Town officials from Avon, Spring Valley and Magnolia in Rock County and Decatur and Spring Grove in Green County are association members.
Most, but not all, association members support forming a district, said Michael Moore, who is the town of Avon chairman and represents the association on the fire oversight committee.
While Moore can provide input to the fire oversight committee, he has no voting rights for the association.
The association owns and maintains vehicles that the fire department uses, but Moore said it has say as to how the equipment is used or how the department runs.
Forming a fire district would give each entity a vote, but it might cost some towns more than what they pay under the current formula, he said. The easiest way to form a district is like a school district, with each town paying an assessment on the value of the land in the district, he said.
The city council approved a motion last month to have attorneys from the city and the association present information on a fire district at Tuesday's meeting with a goal of making a decision by June 1.
Wayne Gibson, who previously served as an assistant fire chief, is leading the department as interim chief on a part-time basis. He has said he has no intention of becoming the permanent chief.
Gibson declined to discuss the issue for this story through a message from his assistant.