There are still obstacles to clear for the town of Wheaton before they exit the Chippewa Fire District.
The town board voted 4-1 Tuesday to leave the fire district by the end of 2020.
Lafaytte town chairman David Staber, who also is president of the Chippewa Fire District board, said there are still conditions Wheaton has to meet before their request to leave the Chippewa Fire District is approved. It also will affect the 2021 Chippewa Fire District budget.
“There were some conditions they put into their motion (Tuesday) night that they have to meet before they leave the district,” Staber said. “So, right now it’s not going to impact us at all. When and if they do leave the district, that leaves about a $200,000 hole in the budget that’s going to have to be adjusted to.”
Lake Hallie village president Gary Spilde said while the situation is unfortunate, there isn’t much any member of the board or the district can do to rectify the situation and keep the district how it currently resides intact.
“We’ll have to take a look at our budget, because it’s going to be a shortfall in what we were expecting,” Spilde said. “We’ll work through it, as they’ve made the decision in their local government to leave evidently, and there isn’t much we can do about it at this point.”
Wheaton town board member Wayne Miller said the decision was mostly a financial one, as the town pays about $200,000 annually to the district, which has an overall budget of about $1.5 million. Town board members felt they could do as good or better of a job serving their community on their own.
Wheaton also must line up ambulance services. The town is negotiating with both the cities of Chippewa Falls and Eau Claire to provide those services.
The next step in the process of Wheaton leaving the Chippewa Fire District is their submission of a letter of intent to leave the district, which must be submitted by Oct. 1.
The Chippewa Fire District is comprised of the village of Lake Hallie, plus the towns of Hallie, Lafayette, Wheaton and Howard.