Batavia Fire Chief addresses Sherman Town Board

by Rodney Schroeter
of The Review staff

SHERMAN — Dennis Schulz, Batavia Volunteer Fire Department chief, addressed the town board the night of Wednesday, March 8.

The board would normally have met the night before (the first Tuesday of the month), but a conflict caused them to meet Wednesday night.

This was also the premiere night for a new season of Survivor, featuring Random Lake native Andrea Boehlke. The Fire Hall parking lot held as many cars as one would see at a chicken barbecue. People crowded into the large Fire Hall to watch the show on a big screen.

In the little room where the town holds its meetings, board members and those addressing the board had to talk over rock concert-level TV music and enthusiastic viewer cheers.

Schulz wanted to put to rest any rumors that the Batavia Fire Deprtment is dissolving. He said discussions were initiated last September to possibly consolidate the Batavia and Beechwood departments. Consolidation would save money and combine manpower. Batavia, like many fire departments, is having difficulty recruiting firefighters.

The Batavia and Beechwood fire departments have worked closely together for years. They have been “Simulcast” for nearly two decades and respond together to all fire calls to the areas they cover in the towns of Scott and Sherman. This is because both departments are short of personnel during the day.

Schulz said the two departments had tried to keep negotiations between themselves. They haven’t made as much progress toward consolidation as they would like, but they thought it could be achieved by the end of 2017.

But then, Schulz said, a new factor entered. The Scott Town Board made it known they would end their contract with the Batavia Fire Department and First Responders as of June 30.

Schulz said the town of Scott wants the fire truck that was funded partly by the town and partly by the Batavia Fire Department. Town of Scott would likely give the truck to the Beechwood Fire Department.

Schulz admitted that Beechwood had the larger fire department with more resources. But Batavia offers EMS (emergency medical services) coverage in the area. Schulz hoped that, whatever the combined or diminished future role the Batavia Fire Department would play in the community, their EMS could still be kept active and utilized.

Clerk/Treasurer Rhonda Klatt asked Schulz if the Beechwood and Silver Creek fire departments would need to re-establish the boundary lines of the areas they cover before June 30. Schulz replied that it would. “That doesn’t give them much time,” said Klatt.

Schulz said they either had to seriously sit down and decide to accomplish the consolidation before June 30, or the boundaries would need to be redrawn.

Also present was Becky Kuehmichel, EMS captain for the Batavia Fire Department

Whatever the outcome, Schulz emphasized that the Batavia Fire Department is committed to ensuring that residents do not experience a disruption in EMS or fire suppression services.

Other town business

Daniel J. Hintze, vice president at National Exchange Bank & Trust of Fond du Lac, was present to follow up with the town regarding the financing of the Abbott Drive project. At the February meeting, the board had asked Hintze if their only term length option for a loan was 10 years.

Town Chairman William Goehring said a seven-year loan would save the taxpayers some dollars, but a five-year loan might be too ambitious. Hintze assured the board they had until April or perhaps even May to decide the loan length. Klatt said the board needed only to decide that night which financial entity to take the loan with. The board unanimously approved borrowing the money from National Exchange Bank & Trust.

Representatives of Badger Tag were present to request the name “Badger Way” for the road that will lead to the new Badger Tag facility on County RR. That name had been submitted to, and approved by, the county. The board unanimously approved the name based on the county’s approval.

The board unanimously approved the appointments of Lisa Hurley, Tom Doane and Julie Mesa as Lakeview Community Library representatives.

Lakeview Community Library Director Jacqueline Rammer gave the board an annual update on resources the library provides the community. She said becoming part of the Monarch Library System has been going extremely well, with an increased access to materials.

Klatt informed the board she’d issued a picnic license to St. John’s Lutheran Church and School for the 6th annual Bean Bag Tournament on March 11.

Goehring reported that the county approved installation of flashing lights on the stop signs at Abbott Drive and Couny I. That type of stop sign was included in the town’s TRIP funding application as a safety feature.

During March, the transfer station is open the first and third Saturdays. With the start of April, it will be open every Saturday.

The board will perform its spring road tour on Saturday, April 15. Residents having specific concerns with the roads are encouraged to contact the town office before that date.

No building permits were issued in February.

The next regular town board meeting will be Wednesday, April 5. The date would normally have been April 4, but that is the night of a spring general election.

Open Book will be Monday, April 24. Board of Review will be Thursday, May 18, from 7 to 9 p.m.

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