Nevis Fire Dept. will start billing for service
City Administrator Dawn Veit presented an ordinance written by attorneys with the League of Minnesota Cities. The Nevis City Council approved it on Monday, March 13.
The Nevis City Council on Monday approved an ordinance establishing fees for emergency fire protection services for property within the city and under fire service contracts.
As the council discussed in February, the townships that contract with the Nevis Fire Department requested billing for the department’s emergency services at the last township meeting.
City Administrator Dawn Veit presented an ordinance written by attorneys with the League of Minnesota Cities. “It was already in play,” she said. “All we had to do was add our personal information.”
Veit said the procedure laid out in the ordinance is similar to the city’s utility billing, including turning over delinquent accounts to the county auditor.
Car accidents are the only service for which the city can’t send unpaid bills to the auditor, she said. The city would then have to decide whether it wants to accept the loss or pursue collections through an outside firm.
“You would, tonight, decide when you would want it to become effective,” she said.
Fire Chief Josh Winter said he is on board with this. “Our budget covers so much,” he said, “but beyond that, there’s a lot of money involved in the fire department. And insurance companies are kind of expecting it.”
Council member Sue Gray noted that neighboring fire departments have already been billing for some time.
Council member Blair Reuther made a motion to approve the ordinance with a May 1 effective date. The motion passed unanimously.
Fire equipment update
During a public comment segment, Winter suggested putting a light at the top of the sledding hill, shining down the slope.
With darkness coming around 5 p.m. during the winter, Winter said, “it’s kind of hard for kids, if they want to sled after school if it’s nice out,” he said, and suggested running power lines uphill from the hockey rink.
Mayor Jeanne Thompson advised talking with Public Works Superintendent Don Umthun about what this would involve, and then bring it back to the council for discussion. The council voted unanimously to support this course of action.
Later in the meeting, Winter reported the fire department took delivery of their new truck. He said it will have lights installed April 3, after which it will be stickered and put into service.
Winter said he is ordering a box for the truck, anticipating a 14-week delivery timeline. It will then need to have more lights and stickers installed on the box.
He reported purchasing the battery-operated tools the council had approved.
Winter also gave a “shout-out” to fire personnel responding to a medical call on Sunday, March 12. He said the call came in for a possible stroke at a home with an unplowed driveway.
“We had two fire department members take their personal vehicles out there and plow the driveway out, so we could get in and the ambulance could get in,” said Winter.
Winter also asked for, and received, the council’s go-ahead to sell a used ambulance that former Fire Chief Chris Norton had purchased. To his recollection, Winter said, it has only been used at one fire call in about three years, mainly as a recovery vehicle for firefighters needing to warm up or cool off.
Otherwise, he said, it unnecessarily takes up space at the fire hall, while other fire vehicles can serve the same purpose without requiring an extra driver.
Winter suggested selling it at the same time as the department’s old first response truck, hinting that the Eastern Hubbard County Fire District may be interested in buying the vehicle.
Thompson made a motion to go ahead with the sale, if there is a buyer. The motion passed unanimously.