Southern Door’s fire board is seeking a second opinion of sorts when it comes to the value of its north fire station in Nasewaupee.
The eight fire board members, who met Sept. 14 at the south station in Forestville, voted unanimously to spend $2,200 to have an appraisal of the north station done by Scott Bortolini of Cornerstone Appraisal in Kewaunee.
The Nasewaupee Town Board voted last month to split from the four municipalities that are now in the Southern Door Fire Department (SDFD) and form its own department, as well as to exercise the option to purchase the SDFD’s assets located in the town – namely, the fire station and the equipment in it.
Nasewaupee plans to give its official notice at the fire board’s annual meeting Sept. 28 that it wants to split from the SDFD in order for the separation to be effective as of next year’s annual meeting.
To own the north fire station and its equipment upon leaving the department, the operating agreement that formed the SDFD in 1980 states that Nasewaupee would be required to pay the remaining municipalities “an amount equal to the percentage of the then–fair-market value of the property contributed by the remaining municipalities.”
Based on equalized value, Nasewaupee has contributed the majority of the tax levy paid to the SDFD, and the percentage the town would need to pay the Village of Forestville and the towns of Forestville and Clay Banks could be 30%. That’s an amount supported by both Nasewaupee and two legal opinions the fire board has obtained.
Prior to last month’s vote to split from the SDFD, Nasewaupee obtained its own appraisals of the station and the equipment.
Nasewaupee town chair Steve Sullivan informed the town board last month that an appraisal of the Nasewaupee fire station by the Dunham Appraisal Group of Algoma valued the building at $210,000, not including the land, well and septic system.
He further stated the equipment in the station was appraised by McMahon, with a price range of around $375,000.
Though Nasewaupee will be able to own the north station and the equipment in it, what a separate fire department in the town would be like once the split occurs has yet to be finalized.
Sullivan said during the town board’s Sept. 15 meeting that setting up a new department probably wouldn’t be worked on until next month, after consulting with legal counsel as to how much the town can do itself and what it needs advice on, “whether it’s taking another department’s plan and just tweaking it, or starting from scratch.”
Fire board chair Loren Uecker suggested the fire board get its own appraisal of the north station by asking, “When does the buyer set the price? For $2,200, the appraisal could come in under [the amount of Nasewaupee’s appraisal, and] we could spend $2,200 for nothing, or the appraisal could come in much higher, and that’s all for the better.”
Uecker said Bortolini, who has experience in appraising commercial property, will appraise only the building itself and not the equipment in it.
“But [Bortolini] did recommend, though, that if we want to have the trucks and equipment [appraised], that we should contact, possibly, the salesmen,” Uecker said. “Say it’s a Marion truck; we have Marion do an appraisal on it. If we have a Pierce truck, we have Pierce do it.”
Uecker said Bortolini didn’t know anyone who could do appraisals on firefighting equipment.
“That would really be a niche in the market to do that,” Uecker said.
Upon Bortolini being notified of the board’s approval, Uecker said it would be three to four weeks before the building appraisal would take place.
With another year of existence of the SDFD as it is now configured, the fire board put together a budget for approval at the annual meeting calling for $433,863.93 in revenue and expenses.
On the revenue side, the proposed budget includes a tax levy of $409,176.13; fire dues of $22,887.80; and $1,800 in interest.
Two of the larger expenses in the proposed budget include more than $102,000 for a payment on a new truck and $96,500 in payroll expenses.
The new truck being purchased was initially intended for the north station, but because of the pending department split and Nasewaupee indicating it now doesn’t want the truck, SDFD chief Rich Olson said it is being equipped to reside at the south station.
Uecker alluded to the possibility that lawyers could be involved as to whether Nasewaupee will be obligated to make payments on the truck once the town splits from the SDFD.