BLOOMING GROVE (WKOW) – The public is invited to weigh in October 14 regarding whether the City of Madison should take over fire service in the Town of Blooming Grove.
Blooming Grove will officially be annexed into Madison on October 31, 2027. But fire chief Glenn Linzmeier said the city has offered to assume the fire duties ahead of schedule. He said details regarding when the change would occur have not been finalized but he's heard timelines of 90 days up to five years discussed during the negotiation process with Madison.
Linzmeier said a full plan, including details of what the change would mean for Blooming Grove's firefighters, equipment and response times, will be unveiled October 14 at the Blooming Grove Fire Department. The meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
Linzmeier said he does not anticipate response times to be adversely impacted. But he said the two departments have different ways of doing things and thus the transition would need to be carefully planned out.
“There's a contract we're going to look at that the City of Madison is proposing to Blooming Grove,” Linzmeier said. “It's an attractive contract and we're going to take a look it and we're going to let the board and the residents weigh in to see what the differences are and what makes sense to best business practices.”
The Blooming Grove Fire Department currently employs three full time firefighters and roughly a dozen part time firefighters, Linzmeier said. He said any arrangement would take care of the full and part-timers, although he acknowledged the City of Madison Fire Department does not take on volunteers.
Linzmeier said the choice of whether to dissolve the Blooming Grove Fire Department and pay the City of Madison for service ultimately rests with the town board. He said details regarding cost will also be unveiled October 14.
Blooming Grove residents who spoke to 27 News Tuesday seemed open to the idea.
“I don't think it would be a problem,” said Blooming Grove resident Chris Hudzinski. “But it all comes down to finances – who's going to pay for it?”
“We're going to be annexed in (to Madison) anyway,” Hudzinski said. “So let's go ahead and let Madison take over the fire services.”
Blooming Grove resident Jill Haglund said she's long been an admirer of the fire department. She and her grandson, Martin, have even toured the fire house.
But she said she's willing to review the proposal.
“We think they do a good job,” she said. “But if it could save the community money and give them added resources without taking away from our great people, I think it's a good idea.”
“I wouldn't want to see our fire department hurt in the process,” Haglund said.