Tag Archives: Rural Fire Protection

Rural Fire’s rhetoric over Safety Center cost-sharing heats up, raises issue of aging fire vehicles

Northfield-safety-center Jerry Anderson
Today’s Nfld News article, Getting their due, features the conflict between the City of Northfield and the Northfield Rural Fire Protection District over the proposed new Safety Center:

For months, city leaders, particularly Mayor Mary Rossing, have said discussions with Rural Fire leaders over cost sharing for a new Safety Center were stalled. Rossing even went so far as to imply Rural Fire officials weren’t willing to negotiate a deal. That’s just not true, say Jerry Anderson, Ray Ozmun and Paul Liebenstein, all members of the Northfield Rural Fire Protection District Board of Directors.

… It isn’t about the vehicles, says Anderson, Ozmun and Liebenstein. It’s about the Rural Fire District being recognized for its contributions when its time to talk about paying for a new Safety Center. And, said Anderson, if it’s going to be called a partner it expects to be treated like a partner.

I found it odd that, according to the article, Public Safety Chief Mark Taylor says ‘city leaders’ find that Rural Fire’s proposed $308,000 contribution to be low.  Which city leaders, and why weren’t they interviewed for this article?

Back in July of 2009, Bridgewater Township Supervisor, Kathleen Doran-Norton commented here on LoGro:

One of the comments I heard at last night’s inter-governmental meeting was that the $10 million+ safety center needed to be a beautiful building that would make the people of Northfield proud. The township supervisors at this meeting asked if Northfield’s architectural design standards were driving up the cost of this building. There’s no interest in a Taj ma(fire)hal. What’s expected and would be supported is a serviceable utility building that fits the trucks that we use to keep folks safe, and located where everyone served can be reached without delay.

and then later in the thread here:

The city has indicated several times over the last year that it plans to talk with the Rural Fire Association and all other entities about financial support for the fire hall. The paper has reported a proposal to raise permit and other fees to pay for it. Drive by the new fire hall in New Prague. For less than $3 million, they got more than a gray box.

So it seems that Rural Fire would rather have Northfield spend more on equipment than it has in the past and less on a new building.  I can’t disagree.  And although the Council has made its decision on a new $10 million Safety Center, it’s far from certain that the voters will agree, especially when A) they find out that ‘all three city-purchased [fire] vehicles are more than 23 years old;" and B) that the current Safety Center’s flooding problem could  be fixed for $325,000.