Marshfield Fire & Police Commission Discusses Revenue Options

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Preliminary Discussion Prompted by EMS Enterprise Fund Concerns

MARSHFIELD, WI (OnFocus) – Marshfield Fire & Police Commission this morning discussed additional Fire Department revenue options as the EMS Enterprise Fund faces a more than $600,000 deficit.

Multiple concurrent calls have been a contributing factor to the increase in overtime and staffing challenges at the department. With the status of the Enterprise Fund uncertain, staffing will continue to be an issue.

“There are fire departments out there that do bill the end user in addition to the taxes people pay,” said Fire Chief Pete Fletty. “Most of the departments that are billing for these additional fees are mainly based in the southeast part of the state. Point, Wausau I think also bill for false alarms.”

LifeQuest, which the fire department bills through on the EMS side, are also able to bill for fire calls as well, meaning it would be a “seamless process if this is how we wanted to go,” said Fletty. “Personally I’ve struggled with this a little bit, but there are a lot of departments moving forward with this. A lot of municipalities are struggling to find ways to pay. But this is where we are right now.”

“There is one thing that I’m 100% against billing extra for and that’s carbon monoxide calls. I don’t want somebody waiting to call because they don’t want a bill and then getting sicker,” he added. “Another thing we could bill for is additional inspections.”

He added that false alarms are an issue as well with several businesses around town, with 20+ false alarms per year at some locations.

“What other departments are doing is after the third false alarm, they start the billing process for that,” he said. “These are just options, what other municipalities are doing. I wanted to provide this as fruit for discussion.”

I don’t like this at all,” said Commissioner Andy Keogh. “It’s antithetical to a government’s responsibility to its citizens. But it’s happening everywhere. We’re shifting the cost from the tax base to the individual beneficiary. I don’t think that’s right, but it has to happen because we can’t afford to do business if we don’t.”

“I 100% agree,” said Fletty. “I never thought we’d be at this point.”

“I’ve been preaching on priority government,” added Commissioner Steven Steingraber. “What does government need to do, not the things we want to do? This is going to push buttons.”

Commissioner Mike Meyers suggested presenting to the City of Marshfield Common Council, informing them additional revenue sources are being considered as a possible proactive solution.

“If the Council knew we were going in this direction, it would give them an opportunity to think through whether that was consistent with their vision of what City government should do for its citizens,” he said. “It keeps the lines of communication open, which we need to do.”

The department plans to brief Council and return to the next Police & Fire Commission meeting with a potential fee schedule for review.

This is an ongoing topic and we’ll continue to bring you updates as matters progress…

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News Desk
Author: News Desk

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