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Chief drops new firehouse study from budget PDF Print E-mail
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 11 October 2017 18:42

After years of advocating for second station in Port, Mitchell says council will now have to decide if it’s priority

When Port Washington Fire Chief Mark Mitchell presented his proposed 2018 capital budget to the Police and Fire Commission Monday, there was one item that was conspicuously missing.
    “You notice the glaring omission?” Mitchell asked commission members, referring to money for a feasibility study for a second fire station.
    Mitchell told the commission he made his pitch for a new station to aldermen in June, and because of that decided not to include the $13,500 for the study in his capital budget.
    “They know our needs,” he said. “The ball’s in their court now.”
    Mitchell has been actively advocating for a second fire station for years, saying it’s important to ensure public safety.
    The existing firehouse is cramped, inefficient and doesn’t have adequate facilities for women or paramedics, fire officials have said.
    They envision a new fire station being built west of the railroad tracks, near much of the city’s population base, noting this would also ensure that a derailment or disaster would not cut half the city off from needed emergency services.
    The commission has sought funding for a feasibility study and space needs analysis for a second firehouse for the last three years.
    While aldermen placed that amount in the city’s contingency fund last year, City Administrator Mark Grams said the funds have been spent on other needs.
    Those include funds to bring the tall ship Denis Sullivan to Port Washington, hire marketing director Nicole Styles and make some repairs to the waterpark, Grams said.
    Grams, who met with Mitchell to review the proposed 2018 budget on Tuesday, said he doesn’t envision the council including funds for the fire station study in the budget.
    “He’s got other (budget) priorities next year,” Grams said of Mitchell.
    Those include a new tanker truck to replace the current, 32-year-old truck at an estimated cost of $400,000, replacing one of the ambulances at an estimated cost of $225,000, and replacing two heating, ventilating and cooling units at the firehouse for $10,000.
    “We’ve pushed those (vehicle replacements) off for the last couple of years,” Grams noted. “We’re at a point I don’t know that we can do that anymore.”
    In addition, Mitchell’s capital budget requests for next year include $4,000 for anti-exposure coveralls for the dive rescue team and $25,000 to replace one ambulance cot with a power-assist unit.
    Grams, who is meeting with department heads as the budget process begins to wind its way to the Common Council, said the 2018 budget is expected to be “very tight again.”
    The proposed budget is tentatively scheduled to be reviewed by the city’s Finance and License Committee on Oct. 26, Grams said, with the Common Council reviewing the spending plan on Nov. 7.
    A public hearing on the budget is to be held on Nov. 21, and aldermen could approve the document that night.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 October 2017 18:43
 
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