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Press - Fire District Looks to Village for Land Purchase Okay


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Press - Fire District Looks to Village for Land Purchase Okay

-- Newspaper clipping --
Friday, September 13, 2002 - Front Page & page 10
by Sheli Strunc
(Posted with permission from the Press-Star, a division of Journal Community Publishing Group)

Fire District Looks to Village for Land Purchase Okay

Members of the Hortonville-Hortonia Fire District were present during a Committee of the Whole meeting held at the Hortonville Village Hall recently.

The Fire District is interested in purchasing 5-acres of land on Cty. TT in the Town of Hortonia for the future construction of a new fire hall. The land is presently owned by
Lavern Steinberg, and has Village of Hortonville sewer and water running parallel to the property.

Dennis Clegg, representative for Hortonia Fire District told board members they are looking for an okay on the land located on TT. "I know there's been talk on other locations, but the guys on the Department think this is it," he said.

Steinberg has offered the property at a price of $45,000. "This could take care of all our needs," said Dave Dorn, Fire Chief.

"Why would you need to purchase five acres?" asked Dick Hunt, village board member.

"We need the acres for future growth," said Dave Dorn, Fire Chief.

"Give us the equipment and the space we need to do our job," said Kevin Bolssen, Hortonia Town Chairman and volunteer firefighter. "We're bumper to bumper in that garage. We need this, It's build-build-build around here and we're going to have to have the means to keep up with the growth."

"I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if you want to use our water, you'll have to pay," said Joan Dockter, Village of Hortonville board member. "According to village ordinance, when you hook onto the water and sewer there's going to be a fee of $73,000 for the assessment that wasn't paid by Steinberg," she continued.

"Hortonia has 48% of this district and Hortonville holds the other 52%. Why would you want to charge your own fire district for hookup of water and sewer?" asked Bolssen.

"We borrowed against this assessment," said Dick Hunt, village board member. "In effect, if we don't charge for it, the residents are going to end up paying for it."

"Once that land is sold, who ever purchases it, is going to have to pay that assessment in order to hook on to that system," said Dockter.

"We've learned that an appropriate fee for annexation would be between $1,200 to $1,500," said Bolssen. "The amount you are requesting is too high."

"We just can't give it to you," said Hunt.

"Do you agree we need a new fire building and other administrative buildings as well?" asked Tom Olk, village board member. "Why put up one building now when we're looking to build a new police department, administrative building and library. We don't just need a fire hall, we need other administrative buildings as well. We should be thinking of a project that can house more than just one."

"I'd like to see the village board give its okay to purchase this land," said Lee Marks, firefighter.

"They can buy the land," said Roger Retzlaff, village board president, "we'll just work the rest out at a later meeting."

"If they purchase the land before the water issue is decided, that is just setting us up for more problems in the future," said Dockter.

"If they are only purchasing five acres, they would only have to pay for that portion of the annexation," said Olk. "We're going to need some time to get ahold of our attorney. There are some legal issues here that will need to be worked out," he continued. "We'll set up another meeting in about two weeks."

The next meeting was set for Wednesday, September 18 at 6:30p.m.