$170,000 to $275,000 to be bore by village’s 500 residents
By Brandi Makuski
Village leaders in Park Ridge are seeking public input on four options to update the village’s fire department.
In a letter to village residents, Village President Kathy Budelier said updates could run between $170,000 and $275,000. The village’s youngest engine is 22 years old, and the village’s command vehicle is over 40 years old.
“We have experienced challenges in finding qualified drivers and in finding replacement parts to the [vehicles] properly maintained,” Budelier said in the letter.
Budelier presented residents with four options:
The first option would contract fire protection services with another municipality. But according to Budlier, this would “more than double” the village’s annual fire dept. budget, and present additional challenges — to include a referendum to increase the village’s tax levy.
Option two is among the least costly and involves replacing Engine 2 with a new engine, built from scratch, which will fit properly in the existing garage from scratch, at a cost of $170,000 – $193,000.
Another option involves replacing Engine 1 with a new truck that will fit inside the current garage. and convert the department’s current Engine 1 into a hose wagon. For the new engine and vehicle conversion, the estimated cost is $240,000.
The fourth option is for the village to construct a separate building with longer bays and higher ceilings and doors. Firefighters in the department have long complained about the tight squeeze for current vehicles, which are housed in what is essentially a large residential garage. Construction estimates came in around $170,000, Budelier said, and used replacement fire trucks can be purchased for as little as $60,000.
The department has had to become creative in raising capital, having recently announced its first 5K fundraiser; “Tame the Flame” has room for 100 runners and will raise money to pay for new uniforms, a new defibrillator and a new thermal imagining camera.
By comparison, the Stevens Point Fire Dept. has an engine which is 25 year old and becoming difficult to maintain. The dept. has applied for a FEMA grant to help pay for a replacement at a cost of $600,000 because repairs would cost more than the truck is currently worth.
It was not immediately clear if Park Ridge has applied for any grants.
Residents in the village are invited the public hearing on Thursday, Mar. 10 at 6:30 PM. The meeting will be held in the Community Industries Building, 41 Park Ridge Drive.