Birchwood Four Corners Emergency Services District
January 1, 2008, the Town of Cedar Lake joined with five other Towns (Birchwood, Wilson, Edgewater, Long Lake, and Doyle) and the Village of Birchwood to form the BFCESD. The BFCESD provides fire protection for all of the member municipalities, except the northern half of the Town of Birchwood and ambulance service for all but Doyle, Long Lake(July 2012) and one half of Cedar Lake and the Town of Birchwood.
The BFCESD is a newly created government entity whose sole purpose is to provide emergency services for its members. The Birchwood Volunteer Fire Department and Birchwood Ambulance Service both report to the District. Each Town and the Village have a commissioner and the seven commissioners make up the Board for the Birchwood Four Corners Emergency Services District.
Previously the six Towns had contracted with the Village of Birchwood for their fire and ambulance service and the Village of Birchwood Board made all decisions regarding fire and ambulance service.
For many years the Village had an advisory group made up of all the contracted Towns who gave opinions on budget and coverage issues but did not have any authority. The Village Board frequently found itself in a difficult position, elected to serve the Village but voting on emergency services that affected not only the Village but six other Towns. In 2007 the advisory group began having discussions about forming an emergency services district that would be singularly focused on public safety. Art Johnson, a Village Board member, had previously been involved in a fire district and was able to give some helpful insight into the benefits of forming a District. After several months of discussions and help from each of the Towns and the Village, incorporation papers were developed and resolutions passed by each of the member entities endorsing the BFCESD.
While services remain the same and the Birchwood Volunteer Fire Department and the Birchwood Ambulance Service have not changed, there are several potential benefits to the formation of the BFCESD. First, when decisions need to be made about emergency services they are made at the monthly BFCESD meetings and they are the only thing on the agenda. Each Town and the Village have one vote and the only issues that are dealt with are those of Public Safety as handled by the BFCESD. The next area is the potential to qualify for more grant money as a District that includes six Towns, one Village and includes four different Counties.
In today’s environment, intergovernmental cooperation is encouraged and favored by many of the groups looking at grant requests. In addition, our composition may qualify for more types of grants including those that are given for the purchase of land and buildings. Each of the member entities is in the far corner of their respective County and quite a ways from County evacuation shelters. We will be pursuing the building of a new Fire/Ambulance building that would include facilities for an evacuation shelter providing we can get most of the funding for it through grants.
The BFCESD meets the 2nd Thursday of each month at 6:30 pm.
Meetings for the BFCESD are held in Suite B of 101 West Loomis in Birchwood.
The mailing address for the BFCESD is:
PO Box 417
Birchwood, WI 54817
The commissioners are:
Town of Birchwood – Romaine Quinn
Town of Cedar Lake – Jon Sleik
Town of Doyle – Tim Stearns
Town of Edgewater – Dean Buresh
Town of Long Lake – Mick Givens
Town of Wilson – Cyndi Fairchild
Village of Birchwood – John Depoister