As questions linger, council backs temp plan for SFFD

by Jeff Pederson
Sheboygan Falls News Editor

Despite some continued concerns about Municipal Building renovation project, the Sheboygan Falls Common Council approved a plan to accommodate the temporary relocation of the Sheboygan Falls Fire Department, during a semimonthly meeting Tuesday, Feb. 18.

In January, Director of Public Safety Steve Riffel and Fire Chief Chris Wesendorf identified two private locations that had the capabilities to serve as a temporary site for the department during the upcoming renovation process.

However, Mayor Randy Meyer expressed hesitation about spending money to rent property for a temporary move.

Instead, he proposed to move the fire department from its current home at the Municipal Building to the Department of Public Works headquarters off of Hamann Drive beginning in April.

The plan required an addition to a large storage building on the DPW to accommodate the department’s new ladder truck.

The cost of the addition is set not to exceed $21,031. Valley Building Systems of Little Chute will perform the work.

While council members spoke highly of the plan at its previous meeting, Alderman Dan Krueger expressed concern when the motion was introduced for council approval.

“I’m wondering if everyone in in agreement that this is the best way to go,” Krueger said. “There have been issues with the Municipal

Building plan that have come up with sidewalk and street grades in front of the fire department and a training room for the fire department, as well as phone systems. I know voting has been a concern and there have been other snags as well.

“I agree that the building is terrible and something needs to be done, but I just want to make sure that everyone is on board with this,” he said.

Alderwoman Anne Krauter, who serves as the chair of the Property Committee, expressed her support for the plan.

“We have done a lot of research over the past two years to come up with the best plan possible,” Krauter said. “Several different options were presented for the building and I think we actually ended thup choosing our 11 option.

“Everyone on the council had the opportunity to be involved in all of the choices, so I am very satisfi ed with the renovation plan,” she said. “Whenever the building task force reported to the council, we were told to keep going with what we were doing and that’s what we did. Some of the concerns have developed from misinformation and things that were not understood correctly. We’ve also talked about the cost savings with rent by going with the DPW option for the fire equipment.”

Alderman Randy Messner addressed the addition to the DPW storage building.

“We discussed the options for relocating the fire department, and I firmly believe the DPW site is the best option,” Messner said. “We will be adding onto our DPW building to make room for the fire truck and after the fire department moves back to the Municipal Building, we will have additional room for the DPW to store their equipment. To me, it is a very good plan.”

Alderman Terry Van Engen and Mayor Randy Meyer questioned the timing of the discussion.

“I don’t think this is an appropriate discussion for this agenda,” Van Engen said. “We have made these decisions already and I thought we agreed to all of them.”

“I agree that this is a good discussion, but it is coming too late,” Meyer said. “The council has already approved a plan to borrow $7 million dollars for the renovation project. This has already been decided.”

After relatively brief, but spirited discussion, the motion to construct an addition to the DPW storage facility for the fire department was approved in unanimous fashion.

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