Town of Wheaton threatening to leave Chippewa Fire District because of budget concerns

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(WQOW)- The Town of Wheaton is threatening to leave the Chippewa Fire District if a balanced budget isn’t put together.

Chippewa Fire District Chairman David Staber said the Town of Wheaton wants the district to cut $200,000.

Right now, the Town of Wheaton is responsible for 17 percent of the district’s budget, and lowering the budget, would lower the town’s payment.

Staber said a $200,000 reduction would cut services, after they’ve already cut
$6,000 in overtime.

He said although the Town of Wheaton threatened to leave, it’s not allowed to go just yet.

“For the Town of Wheaton to leave the district they have to give a 15-month notice. That has to be given by October 1 prior to the year they want to leave,” Staber said. “They’re already past the deadline, so the earliest they could petition to leave would be October 1 of 2019 and then it would be December 31 of 2020 before they could leave the district. When they leave the district they wind up with an empty building.”

Staber said the Town of Wheaton only owns its building, and not any of the equipment inside.

He said if the town leaves, it would still have to pay its portion of already-bought new ambulances and firetrucks.

The other four towns in the district would have to make up that lost 17 percent.

Town of Wheaton Chair Mark Blaskowski said they’re nowhere near the decision to leave just yet, and have every intention to resolve the issue.

The next fire district budget meeting is set for Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Lafayette Fire Station.

 

Shannon Satterlee

Shannon Satterlee

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