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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Brazeau Board Debates Service Award Program Contributions

Issue Date: December 28, 2011

For several years, the Brazeau Town Board has participated in the Service Award Program, formerly called the Length of Service Award Program or LOSA) The program is only open to volunteer fire fighters, first responders and emergency medical technicians, and is intended to assist municipalities and counties in retaining workers in these voluntary emergency services.

The program is basically an annuity that is set up for each volunteer, with the state matching a contribution with certain limits made by the municipality. The money is invested and, at retirement, a volunteer with over 20 years of service and who has reached the age of 60 would collect the amount in his or her, with interest. Those with over 10 years experience, but less than 20 at retirement, would collect a portion of the amount in their account.

According to Brazeau Fire Chief John Fetterly, the program is meant primarily to encourage new members to get fully trained and for trained members to stay on the force. The maximum matching amount that the state will contribute for this year was set at $316.38 per qualified member. Last year, the Town contributed over $11,000 to this program.

With all of the town’s supervisors having been elected this past spring, the program had to be explained and defended in great detail. Supervisor Darrel Enix stated that he would like to see a tier system set up as an incentive for volunteers to move up to qualification. Fetterly responded that the training requirements and monthly sessions for both the fire department and the rescue squad naturally take care of that.

At first, Supervisor Jim Hanna didn’t want to make a decision on the issue, which needs to be paid in before Jan. 31, because none of the town residents had called him about the matter stating whether they supported it or not. Eventually, though, Hanna made the motion to have the town contribute the bare minimum of $250for whoever qualified. The motion carried with Hanna and Enix voting in favor. In voting against the motion, Chairman Ryan Wendt stated he had done so because he wished the contributed amount to be higher, that is, closer to the state maximum.

Town Treasurer Karen Enix reported the following financial ending balances: Checking at $1000; General at $68,792.83; and Tax account at $1000.29; for a total of $70,793.12. For the year, the town has deposited $2,403,736.45 and disbursed $3,946,958.49, expenses for November a total of $48,942.29.

Rescue Squad President Sue Kanack reported on two calls in the month of November. She stated that the new rig is working wonderfully and discussed the possibility of a ‘mass disaster’ training session. Fund of the session would be through MABAS and could include other area emergency services as well.

Fire Department President John Fetterly reported on one call. He stated that the new unit is working well, but the vehicle has already received one recall notice. Training and MABAS training are continuing. The department is making their own name tags and accountability board. He also noted that the periodic fire inspections are coming up within the next week.

Only one Public Comment was given, specifically on the marking of public walkways by the Pickerel Lake access area. It was placed on the board agenda for next month.

Wendt reported on the error that was discovered on the DNR Dredging permit at the Pickerel Lake Access. When the project was bid out, the permit listed a ridiculously low amount of dredging needed of less than 5 cubic yards. After the amount was questioned by several bidders, Wendt contacted the DNR and the change was made to reflect the 45-50 cubic yards that would have to be removed. The bid request in the paper stated the bids were to be by the yard. Three bids were received, ranging from $10.50 per yard to $102 per yard. The board approved the low bid from Scott Thomson Excavating.

At the request of Supervisor Enix, the general vouchers and wage vouchers were moved forward in the agenda before new business. After receiving a fine-tooth break down of the Tank Road repair invoices, the board approved both vouchers.

Tim Magnin from Oconto County Emergency Management answered questions on the fees associated with the new mutual aid organization for emergency services (MABAS). He explained the fees and billing charges. Both the Fire Department and the Rescue Squad of Brazeau are each charged the $100 start-up fee, and will each be charged $25 a year in membership fees. The money, according to Magnin, goes toward mailings, training, books, etc.

When Brazeau first made the decision to join MABAS, the fact that the fees would apply to both the Fire Department and the Rescue Squad separately was not known. Supervisor Hanna still expressed his doubts as to whether or not the Rescue Squad should be a part of MABAS or the town should pay the fees. Any resolution on the matter concerning the rescue squad’s $100 initial fee and $25 yearly fee were tabled until January’s monthly Town Board meeting.

The board approved signing a contract with the Town of Bagley for fire department service. The Town of Bagley is essential split-in-two, with the Village of Suring Fire Department serving one portion, and the Town of Brazeau serving the other. While Brazeau had initially submitted a contract for two years, Bagley had changed it to match the three year contract they have with Suring. The contract does include all of the fire department dues coming to the Town of Brazeau.

Bids were opened on the Fire Department’s surplus 2 1/2 inch pump. Only one was received, that from John Fetterly for $50. Three bids were received on the surplus 1995 International Tanker Truck. The bid from Scott Thomson for $2550 was accepted. No bids were received on the surplus old pagers; however interest was shown after the close date. The pager issue will be on the next agenda.

A driveway permit was approved for Betty Kitzman for the area in front of a garage to the road.

The annual Leaf and Brush Dump schedule for 2012 was approved. The schedule basically remains the same, that being every other Saturday, except with the addition of the Wednesdays in October and the first two Wednesdays in November. The hours will remain the same at 9 A.M. to 2 P.M.

No action was taken on a notice of Circumstances of Claim that was filed on behalf of two town residents. No further discussion was held.

The board discussed a possible Employee Grievance Procedure, which is required now by the state. Enix made the point that this should have been in place by Oct. 1 of this year. Town Clerk Jean Grosse said there is a template copy from the Town’s Association that could be used. She noted that several other local municipalities have approved that template form, or are in the process of doing so. The board decided to pursue the template form, but tabled the matter to find an impartial hearing officer and negotiate a fee before approving any resolution.

The board also voted to table possible replacement of cell phones for highway/road maintenance employees. The current phones, which were purchased in 2007, are quickly losing their charge. The existing cell phone plan for these two phones is somehow tied in with the fire department’s phones. Grosse was directed to investigate a better rate plan for all the phones or possibly even separating the highway/road crew phones from the fire department plan.

A request from Linda Sheve to rezone and divide a parcel of land was approved. The request was approved already by the county. It involves selling off part of an existing mobile home park and rezoning that portion from R3 to single family. The board reiterated that it was imperative that the delinquent taxes and sewer bill be paid, along with removal of an existing dilapidated structure on property be removed first.

The minutes of the Nov. 15, 2011 monthly meeting were approved as presented and posted on the town’s website.


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