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City to repair fire station approach

Cost estimated up to $30,000

By Bert Lehman

The city of Clintonville has been authorized to spend up to $30,000 to repair the approach to the fire station.

The area has deteriorated to the point that it may damage the fire trucks as they exit the building. In order to prevent this damage and to allow quick departure for fire calls, the city will repair the area.

The Clintonville City Council authorized the funds to pay for the repair project to come from the undesignated general fund balance. But if the city has leftover funds available at the end of the year in the capital fund account, those funds will be used first.

The issue was first discussed at the Aug. 1 Streets Committee meeting. Clintonville City Administrator Sharon Eveland informed the committee about the deteriorating approach, and the issue of fire trucks bottoming out in the area.

“There was some minor, not worth doing anything about damage, but there was some very minor damage (to a fire truck),” Eveland said.

Eveland told the committee the problem stems from the weight of the vehicles and the design of the approach.

“It’s going to continue to get worse,” Eveland said.

She added that temporary fixes have been used so far, but a more permanent fix is needed.

Two options, one with a 10-year lifespan and the other with a 50-year lifespan, were presented to the committee. Clintonville Public Works Director Kray Brown researched the options.

Eveland said the 50-year lifespan option is significantly more expensive than the 10-year lifespan option.

The 10-year solution has an estimated cost of $23,000, while the 50-year solution has an estimated cost of $56,000. Both estimates include labor costs for work done by outside companies. The estimates might be reduced if the city did some of the labor, Eveland said.

Brown informed the committee that the short-term solution involved fixing the area by the curb and gutter, the approach and the sidewalk area. The long-term solution also calls for the area leading to the fire department building, which Brown said is currently blacktop, to be replaced with concrete. Rutting has started in this area as heavy fire trucks drive and park on the blacktop.

Most fire department buildings have concrete in this area, Brown said.

Doing the work on the project, while still having fire trucks in service, also complicates the project, Brown said.

“That’s a very strategic thing we’re going to have to do,” Brown said. “We’re either going to have to do one bay at a time, or two bays at a time. That depends on how we can shuffle fire trucks around.”

Brown said this will increase the number of concrete trips to complete the project, which increases the price of the project.

Committee member Steve Kettenhoven asked if the trucks could be stored at an alternate location while the project is completed.

Brown said “no.”

Eveland said it is possible for the fire trucks to be parked outside, but she said she wasn’t sure that was a good idea.

“Unless those things have 24-hour police protection, I don’t want those things outside,” said committee member Lance Bagstad.

The short-term solution would include using blacktop again for the area between the sidewalk and fire department building.

Eveland said she initially considered trying to have some of the neighboring municipalities that contract with the Clintonville Fire Department help pay for the costs of the project. Eveland said she also feels the city hasn’t been adequately capturing the cost of the maintenance of the building through the rent.

She told the committee she initially favored the long-term solution, but due to the financial situation of the city, and the possibility of a new fire department facility before 50 years elapses, Eveland recommended the short-term solution.

Kettenhoven asked if it is possible for the neighboring communities to contribute to paying for the repairs to the approach.

Eveland said that was her original thought, but said she has changed her mind.

“What I am going to be looking at doing is raising the rent to start covering the cost, a truer cost, of the maintenance of the facility,” Eveland said.

She recommended a portion of the increase in rent be used to cover some of the costs of this project. She also recommended that any amount of the funds from the increase in rent that is not used in that year be transferred into a capital projects fund restricted to fire department facilities.

When discussing the long-term versus the short-term solution, Street Committee Chairman Jim Supanich said he was concerned about the current condition of the building.

“I’d hate to go ahead and spend $50,000 or whatever, and in nine years move the fire department out of [the building],” Supanich said.

The Street Committee recommended to the city’s Finance Committee to approve the short-term option.

At its Aug. 7 meeting, the Finance Committee agreed with the Street Committee’s recommendation, and recommended to the Clintonville City Council to approve the short-term option.

The city council approved the short-term recommendation at a special city council meeting held at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 9.

The item was on the agenda for the Aug. 8 city council meeting, but that council meeting did not take place due to there not being a quorum. The Aug. 9 meeting was scheduled later that same evening.

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