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Fox Point wants fire funding package to be doused with time limit

July 10, 2012

Fox Point - If the village has its way, the sun will set over the formula used to determine how much each community pays to support the North Shore Fire Department.

On Tuesday, the Village Board, which has expressed concerns over Fox Point's share of the funding, requested that a three-year sunset clause be added to the latest formula. Village President Michael West will also seek a reduction in the village's share.

The proposed funding formula, an update to a previous version approved in 2007, has been making its way through the seven member communities for approval over the course of the last month. River Hills tabled the proposal in late June to seek a sunset clause, and Shorewood will address the issue in an upcoming meeting.

Less is still more

According to the new formula, as approved by the NSFD Board of Directors in early June, Fox Point would contribute 10.31 percent of the NFSD's operating, maintenance, and capital budgets beginning in the 2013 budget year - down from 10.38 in the previous formula.

Despite the reduction, Fox Point board members balked at the proposal when West showed them what the village would have been paying had the funding formula not been changed in 2007. His calculations showed that Fox Point's contribution would have trended down from the 2007 budget year to a low of 9.25 percent in 2012.

"It seems like Fox Point is paying more than its fair share (in the new formula)," said Trustee F. R. Dengel.

"I wouldn't say it's the best," replied West, "but it's really close to the best."

Favoring time limit

Trustees were wary that without a sunset clause to ensure the formula would be updated and reapproved, Fox Point could be without options for renegotiating its share of the fire department budget in the future.

"I think it gives communities incentive if they don't like (their amount)," said Trustee Eric Fonstad.

The Village Board eventually settled on a motion that would carry a recommendation to the NSFD Board of Directors, encouraging that a three-year sunset clause be added to the funding formula. West said that he will write to his colleagues on the board of directors about decreasing Fox Point's contribution, and gauge their reactions.

"That may give you some idea of what the other six communities think," he told the Village Board.

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