Wheatland to hold electors meeting on $2.5 million fire station budget

Electors in Wheatland will have a chance to say whether they feel the town should spend $2.5 million on a new station for the Town of Wheatland Fire Department at a special electors meeting on Aug. 10.

The meeting will likely be held somewhere other than Town Hall in New Munster due to the anticipated need to accommodate a lot of people.

Town Chairman Bill Glembocki made the motion to hold the electors meeting to see if there was support for spending $2.5 million on a new fire station. He was joined by Supervisor Andrew Lois in voting for the meeting. Supervisor Kelly Wilson voted against the motion. She said she disagreed with setting the amount to be approved at $2.5 million when a larger amount might also be acceptable to the public.

A referendum to approve a $3.8 million new fire station failed in February. That plan was developed by a committee including representatives of the fire department, Supervisor Wilson representing the Town Board and Scherrer Construction, which the board had hired as construction manager.

Though two weeks ago Scherrer Construction presented a new plan — at the board’s direction — for a $2.5 million fire station at a Town Board meeting, Glembocki said he did not intend the electors meeting to relate to a specific building plan, but more to see how much money people were willing to spend.

“I’m asking if the electors will agree to spend $2.5 million for a fire station,” Glembocki said. “They might say no, we don’t want to do anything for the Wheatland Fire Department.”

The $2.5 million station plan adds on to the current 40-year-old building. The $3.8 million plan started from scratch with a completely new building.

Fire Chief Lou Denko was present at the meeting, but did not speak during the meeting about the idea of the electors meeting.

At the meeting with the presentation of the $2.5 million fire station plan, Denko said he found the plan inadequate and short-sighted.

“Let’s do this once and do it right,” Denko said. “I don’t feel building onto the old building is a good move … I don’t see this building as a solution for us.”

At the electors meeting, any legal resident of Wheatland of age can vote on motions raised at the meeting.

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