[HISTORY: Adopted by the Village Board of the Village of Argyle as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Article I Organization and Authority
Article II Fire Protection Cost Reimbursement
[Adopted 12-7-2005 as Title 5, Ch. 2, Secs. 5-2-1, 5-2-3 and 5-2-12, of the 2005 Village Code]
Goals of the fire defense program.
The primary objective of the fire defense program is to serve all citizens, without prejudice or favoritism, by safeguarding, collectively and individually, their lives against the effects of fires and explosions.
The second objective of the fire defense program is to safeguard the general economy and welfare of the community by preventing major conflagrations and the destruction by fire of industries and businesses.
The third objective of the fire defense program is to protect the property of all citizens against the effects of fire and explosions. All property deserves equal protection, regardless of location or monetary value.
Fire Department Constitution and Bylaws. The Argyle-Adams Fire Department ("Fire Department" or "Department") is authorized and directed to adopt a constitution and bylaws for the control, management, government and regulation of its business and proceedings, except as otherwise prescribed herein. Said constitution and bylaws shall become effective and operative after adoption of a two-thirds vote of the members of the Department. All amendments shall be similarly adopted.
Village Board to authorized fire equipment.
Authorization. The Village Board shall provide such apparatus and equipment for the use of the Fire Department as it may deem expedient and necessary to maintain efficiency and to properly protect life and property from fire.
Other use. No apparatus shall be used for any purpose except for firefighting within the Village limits and such townships under contract, or in training therefor, except pursuant to an agreement approved by the Village Board after the Fire Chief has given his/her recommendations on such use. With the approval of the Fire Chief, such apparatus may be used for emergency purposes other than firefighting within or out of the Village.
Composition. The Fire Department shall consist of the following officers: one Chief, an Assistant Chief, a Captain and Lieutenant for each company and a Secretary-Treasurer, together with one Master Mechanic and as many drivers and firefighters who are residents of the Village as may be appointed by the Chief and approved by the Village Board, provided that at no time shall the Department consist of less than 20 active members.
Active membership. Active membership in the Department shall be governed by the bylaws of the Department.
Application for membership. Any person desiring to be a member of the Fire Department may file with the Secretary of the Fire Department an application in such form as the Fire Department may require. Each applicant shall also file a certificate of physical fitness from such physician as the Chief may designate. If an applicant is approved by the officers of the Fire Department after a background check, he or she is placed on a six-month probation, after which he or she is voted on by the members of the Department.
Resignations. All resignations from the Department shall take the same course as applications for and appointments to membership.
Police authority at fires.
The Chief and assistants or officers in command at any fire are hereby vested with full and complete police authority at fires. Any officer of the Fire Department may cause the arrest of any person failing to give the right-of-way to the Fire Department in responding to a fire.
The Fire Chief may prescribe certain limits in the vicinity of any fire within which no persons, excepting firefighters and police officers and those admitted by order of any officer of the Fire Department, shall be permitted to come.
The Chief shall have the power to cause the removal of any property whenever it shall become necessary for the preservation of such property from fire or to prevent the spreading of fire or to protect the adjoining property, and during the progress of any fire he/she shall have the power to cause the removal of all wires or other facilities and the turning off of all electricity or other services where the same impedes the work of the Fire Department during the progress of a fire.
Fire inspection duties.
The Fire Chief, or the Chief's designee, shall be the Fire Inspector of the Village of Argyle and shall have the power to appoint one or more Deputy Fire Inspectors and shall perform all duties required of fire inspectors by the laws of the state and rules of the Department of Safety and Professional Services, particularly § 101.14, Wis. Stats.
While acting as Fire Inspector pursuant to § 101.14(2), Wis. Stats., the Fire Chief, or any officer of the Argyle-Adams Fire Department designated by the Fire Chief, shall have the right and authority to enter any building or upon any premises in the Village of Argyle at all reasonable hours for the purpose of making inspections or investigations which, under the provisions of this Code, he/she may deem necessary. Should the Fire Inspector find that any provisions of this Code relating to fire hazards and prevention of fires are being violated, or that a fire hazard exists which should be eliminated, it shall be his/her duty to give such directions for the abatement of such conditions as he/she shall deem necessary and, if such directions be not complied with, to report such noncompliance to the Village Board for further action.
The Fire Chief is required, by himself/herself or by officers or members of the Fire Department designated by him/her as Fire Inspectors, to inspect all buildings, premises and public thoroughfares, except the interiors of private dwellings, for the purpose of ascertaining and causing to be corrected any conditions liable to cause fire or any violations of any law or ordinance relating to the fire hazard or to the prevention of fires. Such inspections shall be made at least once in six months in all of the territory served by the Fire Department and not less than once in three months in such territory as the Village Board has designated or thereafter designates as within the Village or as a congested district subject to conflagration, and more often as the Chief of the Fire Department orders. Each six-month period shall begin on January 1 and July 1.
Written reports of inspections shall be made and kept on file in the office of the Chief of the Fire Department in the manner and form required by the Department of Safety and Professional Services. A copy of such reports shall be filed with the Fire Chief.
Fire Inspectors Handbook. The Fire Inspectors Handbook, SPS, is hereby adopted and made part of this Code by reference.
Purpose and authority. This section is enacted pursuant to the authority of § 66.0608, Wis. Stats, for the purpose of authorizing "volunteer funds" to be held in the name of the Argyle-Adams Fire Department. This section is to be interpreted in conformance with that statute as it may be amended from time to time.
Adoption of authorization. The Fire Chief is authorized to deposit volunteer company funds of the Fire Department in an account in the name of the Department in any public depository in which other Village funds are being held by the Village Clerk-Treasurer or designee.
Control of funds. The Fire Chief is granted exclusive control over the expenditure of volunteer company funds of the Fire Department. This authority is granted without limitation as to amount or type of funds. It is subject to the limitations and requirements hereinafter set forth.
Limitations and requirements. The following limitations and requirements shall apply to the handling and disbursement of funds from the account:
Expenditures. Expenditures withdrawn from the account may be made only upon majority vote of Volunteer Fire Department members present at a duly noticed meeting of the Fire Department. Such withdrawals and expenditures may be made for any purpose that promotes the ability of the Fire Department to provide services for which it is organized.
Accountings. The Fire Chief shall provide the Village Board with a quarterly statement at the end of March, June, September and December of each calendar year. The statements shall be provided within 30 days of the end of the calendar quarter. The statements shall include a detailed itemization of all receipts, expenditures, and the balance on hand at the end of the quarter. The source of all funds and the identity of the payee for each disbursement shall be set forth.
Audit. Volunteer Fire Department accounts authorized by this section shall be included in any audit of Fire Department funds. They shall be audited in the same manner as other Fire Department funds.
There is hereby established the following policy and procedure for the reimbursement of the fire costs incurred by the named municipality and townships (the Village of Argyle, Town of Argyle and Town of Adams).
This article is enacted to ensure that those persons and entities receiving direct benefit from services provided by the Fire Department pay for some or all of such costs incurred by the Fire Department and to reduce the economic burden to the general property taxpayers.
Property owners of real estate and/or improvements to real estate located within the fire district shall be responsible for the costs of the Fire Department's response and suppression activities associated with combating such fire, based upon a schedule of cost assessments attached hereto and made a part hereof. Property included under the terms of this section, but not limited to the following, shall be structures, grass, crops, woods, improvements to real estate, and portable structures, equipment, and personal property.
Editor's Note: The current schedule of cost assessments, as amended from time to time by resolution of the Village Board, is on file in the Village office.
The owner or lessee of any vehicle to which the Fire Department responds for any fire, potential fire or vehicle accident of any kind, wherever the same occurs, shall be responsible for the costs of the Fire Department's response and operations associated therewith, based upon a schedule of cost assessment attached hereto and made a part hereof. "Vehicle" shall include, but not be limited to, automobile, truck, motorcycle, tractor, all-terrain vehicle, snowmobile, horse-drawn vehicle and farm implement.
There shall be no fee levied under the terms of this article for the response by the Fire Department to a fire on open land along any public highway or waterway for which the property owner and/or lessee, if any, are not responsible for starting the same. This section shall not apply to any liability of anyone pursuant to § 26.14, Wis. Stats.
The Fire Board may modify the schedule of assessments at any time, provided the same is approved by the governing boards of the Village of Argyle, Town of Argyle and Town of Adams. The Fire Board is hereby authorized to adopt a scale of additional charges, as said Fire Board determines necessary, for any additional equipment, Fire Department responders, and the like used in response to the matters described in this article.
Editor's Note: The governing body of the Argyle-Adams Fire Department consists of a six-member Fire Board.
The Fire Board shall direct all charges set forth herein to the person, persons or entity to whom the services were provided by the Fire Department. In addition to seeking payment from such person or entities to whom the services were provided, the Fire Board shall pursue such claims against any insurer of the responsible party for whom the services were rendered. Any amounts not paid within 60 days of the date of billing the responsible party shall be deemed delinquent, and the Fire Board shall, in its discretion, seek repayment of any unpaid portion through any legal means available to it. The Fire Board shall designate such person or entity to act on behalf of the Fire Board regarding any collection procedures, including representation in any court proceedings. In addition, the Fire Board shall seek reimbursement from the State of Wisconsin and/or any county for such amounts as may be permitted by law.
Nothing contained herein shall prevent the Fire Board from entering into agreements with other fire districts regarding reimbursement for costs and expenses to the Fire Department.
Nothing contained herein shall prevent the Fire Board from delegating to the Fire Department the authority to collect the charges set forth in § 40-10 hereof. This article is a supplement to, but does not replace, any other assessment procedures of the Fire Board, the Village of Argyle, the Town of Adams and the Town of Argyle for the operating budget of the Fire Department.
This article shall take effect upon passage by the Town of Adams, Green County, Wisconsin, the Town of Argyle, Lafayette County, Wisconsin, and the Village of Argyle, Lafayette County, Wisconsin, and approved by the joint governing committee of said townships and village.