Silver Lake receives fire and EMS service proposal from Salem

salem-fd-door-2012Salem would cover Silver Lake for fire protection and emergency medical services for an annual fee of about $100,000 a year, under a proposal delivered to village trustees by the town at a joint meeting of the Silver Lake Village Board and the Salem Town Board Monday at Silver Lake Village Hall.

The proposal was based on work done by the town since a Dec. 16 meeting in which the two municipalities discussed sharing fire and EMS services.

Salem town administrator Patrick Casey said the fee was based on the fee charged to Paddock Lake, which has long contracted with Salem for fire and EMS service. By that measure, Silver Lake’s annual fee would actually be about $143,000, but the town is including annual station rent of $10,200 and an equipment credit of $33,700, along with some other credits to reduce the fee to about $100,000.

Salem is proposing continuing to use the Silver Lake Station and equipment. Current Silver Lake firefighters could apply to join Town of Salem Fire/Rescue.

silver-lake-fd-doorThe proposal put forward Monday also states that Salem would intend to contract with Silver Lake Rescue Squad — the village’s current EMS contractor — to provide first responder services to the village for the balance of 2014. Salem also would reserve the right to extend a first response agreement to Silver Lake Rescue in future years if appropriate.

Salem Fire Chief Mike Slover said his department could assume responsibility for Silver Lake within 30 days of a signed agreement between the two municipalities.

Silver Lake Trustee Patrick Dunn said the Salem proposal represented about $15,000 more per year than the village now spends for fire and EMS, noting that it includes access to more advanced EMS services. Salem Fire/Rescue is a paramedic department. Silver Lake firefighters also would benefit from more experience by working for  Salem, Dunn added.

Dunn was satisfied enough with the proposal that he moved for the board to vote on it at its next regular meeting, this Wednesday.

However, village President Sue Gerber objected to that time frame, saying it did not allow enough time for discussion among Silver Lake officials. She also contended that Wednesday’s agenda has been posted already and should not be amended except for an emergency. She said the Salem proposal was not an emergency.

Dunn allowed his motion to be amended to call for  action to be taken on the proposal at the Feb. 5 meeting. The motion passed with that amendment.

sl-rescue-squad-backNo other Village Board member besides Dunn expressed an opinion on the worthiness of the Salem proposal, though Trustee Cyndy Schwebke said she did not think it  would take much more discussion because it was “straight forward” and “spelled out.”

Trustees Sotiria Wilber and Michael Decker were not at the meeting.

Gerber said she wants to have a committee of the whole meeting to discuss the agreement further before the Feb. 5 meeting. She said board members would work out a date at Wednesday’s regular board meeting.

Currently, the village controlled Silver Lake Fire Department provides fire protection to the village while the village contracts for EMS service with Silver Lake Rescue, a separate entity not under village control. How to move forward with a fire department that increasingly is finding it difficult to maintain staff and provide equipment has been discussed by village official since the fall of 2011, under an initiative begun by then village President Jeff Albrecht.



  1. I like Bernie says:

    Pat, Soti, Cyndy, and Paul, please vote for this on Feb 5. Time for all this bs to end. This is good for the village, and good for her citizens. Remember this come April, Vote for Soti, and Paul!

  2. Silver Lake Resident says:

    About time!!! Please let Salem Fire/ Rescue provide service to our village. Salem is a PARAMEDIC UNIT! They can give us way better medical care then silver lake rescue, Salem is not in it to make $$$ like silver lake rescue! Also Salem fire is much better trained and equipped then SLFD! I STAND WITH SALEM FIRE/ RESCUE for my family!

  3. Bernard Punsley says:

    Well, last night’s meeting was certainly historic! I must admit I DO have a headache this morning from all the “stares and glares” I was getting from the back of the room naysayers. I think I may have gotten a “cold shoulder” or 2, but maybe it’s just the frigid weather outside. I commend that board for their fortitude in pursuing this issue..this is a “Win Win” for the citizens of Silver Lake. That being said, “The Queen” is going to ramp up her “stall efforts” in yet another attempt to derail this agreement. So be prepared folks! Like Yogi Berra always said “IT ain’t over til it’s OVER”!!!! Silver Lake Rescue could have been part of this historic process from the start, they balked and fought it all the way, and will continue to do so. The concept of “team playing” is foreign to them. Our fire department will be light years ahead once they become part of Salem Fire /Rescue. Ask the firefighters, they are ON BOARD with this upgrade. For those whiners and snivellers that are going to question the cost, save some of that same passion for the $200 grand we just spent on a library!!!! To the Fire Department members….especially Fire Chief McFarlane, thanks for hanging tough. You guys & gals have taken a tremendous beating from your doubters the past year,especially fromt the Queen and Decker the Defector. But you never quit. Stand proud and tall today!

  4. Bernard Punsley says:

    One of the highlights of the meeting was when the “Queen” tried to shout down the gal from Salem. Remember, this was an “informational type” meeting, between both Salem AND Silver Lake. Once again, the Queen tried to reign from her “bully pulpit”, but Linda V. would not be intimidated. It was pretty refreshing. This is a “win win” scenario, and Salem residents should be quite pleased with the outcome. Once Silver Lake residents see what has actually been laid out, they will be too. The tax savings should we combine all services with Salem are phenomenal!

  5. I like Bernie says:

    Feb, 5th meeting is when it will be voted on. Two of the board should not be allowed to vote. So, it should be 4 to maybe 1, or maybe a full 5 to 0, and passed. Once passed, we can finally get beyond this issue, and move forward…Good job to all who pushed this forward!

  6. @Silver lake resident says:

    Just for your information.
    Every member on SLFD Are either Fire Fighters and various levels of EMS certification from first responders all the way up to Paramedics.
    Every member on Salem Fire Rescue Are either Fire Fighters and various levels of EMS certification from first responders all the way up to Paramedics.
    so with that statement Both departments are the same they do nothing different and no difference in training. And I believe all members on Silver Lake will be the same people showing up now to Fire and EMS calls. Only difference is Salem will be providing paramedics. Both departments have the same equipment as well. Theres no difference. Maybe my friend Mr. PUNSLEY can add some more info to that.

  7. Bernard Punsley says:

    Well, it certainly appears “I like Bernie” has a pretty good handle on this issue. However, let’s not forget that the Queen “wrote the book ” on stall tactics. She may be able to conjure up some frivolous “point of order’ that Attorney Gray and Terry Faber will fumble around trying to interpret. Why Decker the Defector would bother to show up for the meeting defies logic. Remember, he doesn’t think there is enough “work” to warrant having firefighters in the fire station, ala Sue. That absurb thinking won’t end if Salem firefighter are manning the Silver Lake station, so if he DOES manage to show up, chalk up at least one NO vote. And let’s not forget I believe the Salem Town Board must also vote on their end.
    So the “whiners and snivellers” can pack up their travelling circus, flying monkeys and all, and travel over to Salem Town Hall for whenever that vote is scheduled. Lots of considerations here, folks. I have to chuckle with the below zero weather freezing the ground like a rock, the “Save Our Silver Lake Rescue Squad” signs are pretty tough to stick in the ground. But as SLRS is part of this new agreement, it appears their salvation is imminent. What a relief!

  8. Silver Lake Resident says:

    SLFD and TSFR are NOT THE SAME! Salem is a PARAMEDIC PROVIDER!!!! Way better care then Silver Lake Rescue! Also Salem personals train weekly and Salem has PARAMEDIC equipment, newer apparatus, higher ISO rating, more personal, better water supply so do not tell me SLFD is anything like Salem

  9. Better with Bernie says:

    The numbers need to examined but it appears that The Town of Salem board has done it’s homework on this fire/rescue proposal. They have professsionally inventoried and assigned value to Silver Lake assets and personnel (qulifications) at SLFD and come away impressed enough to make a financial proposal. Yes, SLRS will be part of the equation and treated quite fairly, as they have been for a number of years working with T of S. Our very own qualified firefighters will have an opportunity to join T of S. And the quality of service and Paramedic care that Salem is known for will be also be offered to Silver Lake Citizens. The T of S board has taken into account fairness for their citizens as well as Paddock Lake residents. When our already budgeted funds are diverted from their current designation (fire and rescue) to pay Salem there is little additional monetary commitment on the part of our taxpayers.
    The agreement means that our assets will be maintained by Salem’s excellent maintainance facility from this point forward.
    The Silver Lake Fire budget was hacked to death this year. The personnel at SLFD has done their very best under less than ideal circumstances and deserve the backing of the entire community. As the Ad Hoc Committee fore-warned us a year and a half ago, membership has dwindled at SLFD and their ability to respond to our emergencies is in peril. This situation cannot be acceptable even to a village president so tied to the Silver Lake Rescue Squad – the citizens must finally come first, not the welfare of a corporation.
    There is very little not to like by all concerned. It is time to put the personal agenda’s aside. Better medical care, better training, respectful treatment of our firefighters, all at a tax rate which is quite affordable. This is a winning combination.
    Bernie is right here, and the Silver Lake Board needs to hear from all of us: we need their votes to pass this agreement. No more stalling, the time is now.

  10. I like Bernie says:

    Mr. Punsley, We need to get the people out to vote this spring! The sooner we connect back to Salem, the better. We have become a subdivision of Salem anyways, so let them have it!

  11. Bernard Punsley says:

    In response to “my friend”….asking me to add some more information to his/her observations that Silver Lake FD and Salem FD are virtually identical, and nothing will change under the new proposal. Well, I can’t add to your ignorance. You did a pretty good job of that all by yourself. Comparing the 2 departments as identical is like saying the Silver Lake Police Department and the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department are identical. ABSURD! “Better with Bernie” did a pretty good job of laying out the benefits of this proposal. Read it again and try not to choke on your breakfast bagel while you are doing that! Salem Fire/Rescue not only has a FULL TIME FIRE CHIEF(geez, just like SLPD has a full time Police Chief)to manage the daily operations, they have 3 times the manpower, including FULL TIME ON DUTY personnel, a training facility second to none, far more required training than SLFD, assets and equipment the SLFD could only dream of(eg. updated breathing apparatus?)and oh yeah..I almost forgot..PARAMEDIC LEVEL SERVICE. Granted, it’s only needed 2 times a year in Silver Lake(SLRS words, not mine), but it is there! SLRS is STILL part of the operation(if they choose to be) If you remember, one of the original major problems facing the SLFD was day time response. By combining SLRS(who provide daytime staffing)and SLFD, the Ad Hoc Committee(remember them?)recommended this so that cross-trained FIRE/EMS personnel would be available in the fire/rescue stations during the day to provide immediate response. WE all know what happened there. Ironically, should SLRS agree to contract with Salem Fire/Rescue, they would be operate under the command of the Salem Fire Chief and the Salem Town Board. Now WHERE have we seen that concept before? In addition, SLFD’s fleet of apparatus will now be serviced by Town of Salem If you have ever seen that facility, it’s pretty impressive. Silver Lake’s maintenance division could have been a key player in addressing the daytime SLFD staffing issues, they chose not to embrace the concept(village public works employees answering emergency calls during the day). The Silver Lake PD and their bloated budget conveniently ignored the issue as well(can you say “cross trained FIRE/POLICE Public Safety Officers”). Many options were available. The board was fighting a wave of resistance from the Save Our Rescue Squad faction unheralded in our village’s history! The ‘ostrich approach” prevailed, except for our former village president’s foresight, and those board members with enough courage to address the issue despite the frenzy from the “whiners and snivellers” in the back room.
    I would invite “my friend”( I do have many….ya gotta admit…Bernie kind of grows on you”) to take a ride over to the Salem public safety building, check out their operation, then report back to the rest of us how Salem has nothing of additional value to offer to us. Awaiting anxiously. Bernard

  12. @silverlakeresident says:

    TSFR may have newer equipment and are a paramedic level ems department. That being said, their ISO rating is the same as SLFD, as for water supply!! What better source of water supply to have the a 264 acre lake within minutes of any home in the village along with the river and two dry hydrants in the village. If your such an expert on FD operations the maybe you should take over as Fire Chief for Chief McFarlane. The SLFD trucks are equipped with the best possible equipment the village board will allow the FD to purchase. And so you know, they attend the same fire classes that TSFR does and trains 3 -4 mondays per month, similar to that of TSFR. One thing TSFR does havd that SLFD doesn’t is the training facilities. SLFD does have access to that and Kaasasville burn tower that is usef annually.

    I’m sure there is an application waiting on the chief’s desk right now for you to fill out, until then you have no say in who is better then the other……

  13. Bernard Punsley says:

    To I Like Bernie…….I concur! I think once folks see the projected costs savings on their tax bills, coupled with the increase in services they will be receiving, they will not only be pleasantly surprised, they will be inclined to embrace the concept. Remember, nothing is stopping the Town of Salem from becoming a Village, and incorporating Silver Lake in with them should we desire. The times changed, it took us a little longer than some to realize that.

  14. Bernard Punsley says:

    @silverlakeresident: You once again FAILED to mention Silver Lake Fire Department’s MAJOR WEAKNESS……they don’t have enough firefighters in the village during the daytime hours to get a rig out the door with enough manpower in a timely fashion. When SLRS faced the same problem, they STAFFED THE AMBULANCE STATION!!! A fire DOUBLES in size roughly every minute. ISO ratings don’t put out fires….highly trained properly equipped firefighters responding IMMEDIATELY do! I’m a tad confused, are we losing our 264 acre “water supply” lake for firefighting purposes if Salem takes over? Will Salem firefighters not be able to access the dry hydrants and the river? You apparently missed the FIASCO this summer when the Silver Lake Fire Department was on the verge of being unable to enter a burning structure or hazardous environment because their breathing apparatus was outdated and not up to fire codes. I guess you dont’ remember when they had to “borrow” air bottles from Gateway Technical College, or when the board refused to allow the Fire Chief to purchase new air mask facepieces for his firefighters. And if you think that the SLFD training program is on par with the Salem training program, you are entitled to that opinion. Let me be PERFECTLY CLEAR on a couple of issues. Fire Chief McFarlane has done a commendable job under the most difficult conditions. Both he and his firefighters have been ‘whipping boys” for some board members as well as some community members. He has literally had to run his department with one hand tied behind his back. And the Silver Lake Firefighers are highly motivated and dedicated individuals that want to serve the community to the best of their ability. The same can be said for the members of the Silver Lake Rescue Squad. While whatever differences or issues either “side” may have had in the past……the time to move forward has finally come. Both SLFD and SLRS will be stronger entities able to better serve their community when the come under the protective umbrella of the Salem Fire & Rescue Department. This is a “win-win” for everyone. I commend our board for having the courage to sit down with Salem, iron out the issues, and come to an agreement amicably.

  15. ISO says:

    ISO ratings involve distances. With the village being less than 5 miles long, I would have been ashamed if we had a rating other than what it is – Class 6. If we were any larger I doubt we would have the rating we have. Salem achieving Class 6 from their previous Class 9 with their their size is wonderful. They should be given credit where credit is due. With what the Village Board has done to the SLFD budget (trashing it), I am surprised that Classification hasnt been changed upward. Wondering now if our Class 6 is still legit. If we fail on this, a change would be detrimental to the property owners here tho. With Salem doing our fire and (maybe) rescue, maybe we can retain the insurance benefits we have because we can keep our ISO rating as it is. With them using our station, maybe we can help them get the Class 6 for some more of their residents. That would be a win-win for everyone too, yet it isnt spoken about much. One of those hidden costs I guess. Wondering now if the trustees even understand it.

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