New City Ambulance Station Eyed

A temporary committee of seven people handpicked by Door County Board Chairman Dan Austad and Emergency Services Director Dan Williams will be formed to gather information for a new central ambulance station in Sturgeon Bay, it was revealed at the board’s Dec. 16 meeting.

The project is divided into four phases, with the first phase being project conception, which will be the purview of the new ad hoc committee, determining the scope of the project, site selection, and budgetary needs. The ad hoc committee will pull those things together, report back to the Property and Emergency Services Committee, which reports to the full board.

“What is the reason for this, in 25 words or less?” asked Supervisor Ken Fisher.

“The station is now too small,” answered Williams.

Fisher reminded everyone that “when the county borrowed $30 million for the justice center, highway shop and ambulance center up north, the comment was made many times, once we’re done with this, we’ll have all the needs met for the county for the next 30 years.

“I’d like to know what has changed now that we’re looking at more building?” Fisher said. “It has to be brought up. I’m just asking the question.”

“One thing that’s changed, the ambulances don’t fit through the door very good right now,” said Austad.

Williams said the building is 25 years old, cannot accommodate the modern equipment and now that another six-person crew is being added, it will make conditions even tighter.

“I’m still nervous about what happened 12 years ago. I don’t want that happening again,” Fisher said, referring to the 2002 recall election of supervisors who voted for the Justice Center project.

Supervisor Don Sitte said he toured the building and agrees that something needs to be done.

Supervisor John Neinas said he had a problem with the county borrowing and going into debt for the project and suggested an amendment to the resolution to eliminate borrowing from the equation. That failed on a 16 to 3 vote (two supervisors were not at the meeting). The original resolution to allow the release of $150,000 of $1 million set aside for this project to begin the first two phases of the project passed unanimously.

Supervisor Fisher also asked why another committee needed to be created when there is already an Emergency Services Committee.

“We need something that will meet more intensely than once a month,” Williams said.

Supervisor Leo Zipperer said the request for a separate committee came from him in the Property Committee, and he got support from the EMS Committee for creation of an ad hoc group that included supervisors and members of the public.

“Let them bring it back and have the oversight committees evaluate their suggestions before it comes back to the county board,” Zipperer said.

In other matters:

• A public hearing was held on the Door County Comprehensive and Farmland Preservation Plan 2035, but no one showed up to speak. “That’s exactly the way it went 10 years ago, by the way,” said Chairman Austad. The Door County Comprehensive & Farmland Preservation Plan 2035 can be viewed here:

• The board voted to allow the sheriff or emergency services director, with the concurrence of the human resources director, to waive the residency requirement. The residency requirement called for law enforcement, fire or emergency personnel to live within 15 miles of the jurisdictional boundaries of the local government. EMS Director Williams said the requirement makes it difficult to recruit people, especially now that he is hiring six new EMS personnel.

• Supervisor Susan Kohout announced that the dates for Door-Kewaunee Legislative Days is set for April 15-16.