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June 25, 2019

5/18/2019 7:30:00 AM
Lake Tomahawk board approves motion regarding SPS 330 resolution
Kayla Houp
Of The Lakeland Times

At its regular meeting on May 8, the Lake Tomahawk Town Board approved a motion to adopt a resolution regarding volunteer firefighters and the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (SPS) 330, which structures fire department safety.

The resolution stems from changes to SPS 330 which would alter the amount of training required by members of the fire department.

In a meeting sponsored by the Wisconsin Towns Association (WTA) at the Raymond F. Sloan Community Center in Lake Tomahawk earlier this year, these changes to SPS 330 and the potential impact on rural volunteer fire departments were discussed with town officials, fire department personnel and residents.

Now, in May, some towns are drafting and adopting resolutions to request the Wisconsin Legislature and the Wisconsin Towns Association collaborate on how to amend equipment and training standards to "better manage costs and enhance the environment for retaining and recruiting volunteers."

"This is a resolution drafted by the WTA at the meeting in Little Rice that I went to last month," town chairman George DeMet said. "We've had several meetings about the new regulations and training standards for volunteer fire departments."

DeMet read the resolution, which highlights several key points supporting the town's decision to request amendments to SPS 330, to the board and audience.

"Whereas much of the fire and medical services in the Town of Lake Tomahawk are provided by volunteers, and whereas recruiting and retaining volunteers is becoming more and more difficult due in part to increasing training standards and whereas equipment costs are artificially high due to equipment standards that don't account for varied and infrequent use in a rural setting," the resolution reads, "and whereas these standards are driven by decisions being made hundreds, and even thousands of miles away, and not by local officials and volunteers."

According to DeMet, Lake Tomahawk adopted the same resolution on behalf of the WTA's Oneida County Unit, and that it was essentially identical "just with our name on it."

"All the towns in Oneida County are going to adopt the same resolution and send it in," DeMet said.

"Somebody's gotta get behind it," town supervisor Larry Hoffman said. "Because if you lose the volunteer fire departments, your insurance is going to go through the sky."

"All these new rules and training standards are being forced upon us by legislators in a different part of the state who don't realize what's going on up here and how difficult it is to get good volunteers," DeMet said. "So I make a motion we adopt this resolution and send it to the appropriate parties."

The motion passed unanimously.



In other matters

The town board also:

• Appointed Dwight Twesme to fill a vacancy on the Plan Commission

• Approved a motion to pursue potentially reinstating the lighting at Rainbow Park.

• Reviewed the latest updates on the addition to the town office, which included an asbestos inspection for the construction area. DeMet said they anticipate the results in about 10 days, but that the inspector was confident they wouldn't find any asbestos.

Other updates included receiving a project schedule, discussion regarding stump removal and grinder pump replacement. According to DeMet, bids are due June 18 with a special board meeting the following week to award the bid.

• Reviewed contracts with various town service providers.

• Considered drafting a letter regarding property maintenance within the town.

"We do have an ordinance about property maintenance, but there are a few people who are a little lackadaisical in their property maintenance issues, so I think between Sharon (Trimberger Lintereur, the town clerk) and I, we can come up with a letter regarding and citing the ordinance on what needs to be taken care of around town," DeMet said. If anyone has suggestions as to who should receive a letter, the board would be willing to listen, he added.

Kayla Houp may be reached via email at kaylah@lakelandtimes.com.





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