CHOICES: Pequot Lakes, Nisswa both have fire service proposals for Breezy Point
Breezy Point had concerns with its contract with Pequot Lakes so pursued potential negotiations with other area fire departments in recent months.
PEQUOT LAKES — It seems Breezy Point will have two choices for fire coverage starting in 2023: Contract with the Nisswa Fire Department on an interim two-year basis, or form a joint fire district/department with Pequot Lakes.
The Breezy Point City Council has concerns about capital expenditure planning and the amount of its fire service contract with Pequot Lakes, so has pursued potential negotiations with other area fire departments in recent months.
Negotiations are ongoing with Pequot Lakes and Nisswa. Pequot Lakes’ fire contracts run from May-April and require a 12-month notice to leave, so Breezy Point could give notice this April that it intends to drop the contract in April 2023.
Pequot Lakes’ proposal
The Pequot Lakes City Council in a special meeting Monday, Jan. 24, unanimously agreed to allow the city’s fire committee to complete negotiations to finalize a joint powers agreement to create a joint fire district/department with Breezy Point.
The fire committee was to meet with Breezy Point officials Wednesday, Jan. 26, in what the council hopes is a final negotiation meeting to work together on fire protection and rescue services.
“This is a huge decision for me,” Mayor Tyler Gardner said.
“I don’t want to make the wrong decision,” he said, explaining the length of this process.
Council members said the proposed agreement addresses the city’s needs and makes sense.
All we can do is put our best faith effort into this.
The proposal says that after 10 years, everything outside of each city’s fire hall building would be owned by both cities. A joint powers board would be established with representation from both cities.
Council member Scott Pederson wanted to make sure the agreement benefits Pequot Lakes.
“Not that it needs to benefit us more. It just needs to be beneficial to us,” he said. “We have to do what’s best for our community.”
Gardner said it’s hard to keep emotion out of the decision.
“All we can do is put our best faith effort into this,” he said.
The Nisswa City Council on Tuesday, Jan. 18, authorized the mayor and city administrator to negotiate a short-term fire service contract with Breezy Point.
City Administrator Jenny Max said she and Fire Chief Shawn Bailey believe the city can provide fire service to Breezy Point on a short-term basis to help that city during the interim while it seeks the best fire service for its citizens.
However, they didn’t believe it’s in Nisswa’s best interest to have a long-term contract.
Considering a one-year contract termination notice, Nisswa could provide fire service to Breezy Point for two years, Max said.
The Breezy Point City Council earlier this month authorized that city’s mayor and city administrator to work with Nisswa to negotiate a fire service contract.
A draft contract will be available for the Nisswa City Council to review and possibly approve in February or March, Max said. Any contract with Breezy Point would start April 1, 2023, because the city would have to give Pequot Lakes a one-year notice.
Max told the council Breezy Point is still talking to Pequot Lakes as well regarding continued fire service.
Nancy Vogt, editor, may be reached at 218-855-5877 or email@example.com. Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Nancy.