CALEDONIA — After numerous conversations about police and fire staffing and locations, Caledonia’s Village Board has formed an ad hoc Public Safety Committee to develop long-term plans for those departments.
At a special village board meeting Wednesday, the board decided that the ad hoc committee members — trustees Dale Stillman, Kevin Wanggaard and Dave Prott — should reach out to Racine County Economic Development Corp., Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission and other entities to learn about Caledonia’s growth projections and develop one- to five-year plans for staffing and facilities.
An ongoing issue
During discussions for the 2019 budget, both Police Chief Daniel Reilly and Fire Chief Richard Roeder requested funds to hire additional police officers and firefighters but were denied.
In March, Roeder requested approval to apply for a federal SAFER (Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response) grant, which would have funded 70 percent of the wages/benefits for three new hires in the first two years and then 35 percent in the third year.
The costs to the village would have been $152,858 in the first year, $157,398 in the second year, $400,000 in the third year and more than $600,000 per year after that. Board members were reluctant to commit to those funds three years down the line.
The village has other competing needs to finance; at Wednesday’s meeting Public Works Director Tony Lazcano mentioned that the village only repaves about 6 miles each year of the approximately 160 miles it is responsible for repaving. That means roads are repaved on average every 32 to 34 years. For 2019, Lazcano said, the village is set to repave 4 to 5 miles of roadway.
“That doesn’t include the sewers under the roads,” said Trustee Tom Weatherston.
The board agreed to hold special quarterly board meetings, at which trustees can talk more informally about long-term projects.
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