Marshfield holds public meeting to discuss upcoming safety referendum

The city asking for just over a $1.1M annual increase in the tax levy to fund a dozen positions in the police and fire departments
Published: Mar. 23, 2023 at 9:55 PM CDT
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MARSHFIELD, Wis. (WSAW) - The City of Marshfield held a public information meeting at the UWSP-Marshfield campus to answer questions about the upcoming referendum.

The Marshfield Police and Fire Departments are hoping voters can help out with staffing shortages through a public safety referendum on the April 4 ballot.

The city needs a dozen additional people between the police and fire departments. The majority would be hired on at the fire department. More staffing would mean better service and quality without stretching staff thinner than they already are.

The public safety referendum would add nine additional firefighters, one police officer, one records specialist at the police department, and an administrative assistant who would split duties between the police and fire departments.

“Adding three personal per shift is going to greatly help us have the staff and resources available when we have this high call volume we are experiencing,” said Marshfield Fire Chief Pete Fletty.

To fund those positions, the city asking for just over a $1.1 million annual increase in the tax levy.

Chief Fletty said the department responded to almost 4,100 calls last year. He added, “Right now we are running into two or four people left in the station, sometimes zero left in the station that’s why we are trying to avoid it.”

Recent budget cuts have impacted the police department as well which has prevented them from filling those positions. Straining the department even more. “Right now, we can’t afford to go to full staff and our staffing is working one short on the law enforcement side and one short on the records side,” said Marshfield Police Chief Jody Geurink.

He added that records specialists are a critical position that needs to be filled and without them, the provisions don’t happen in a timely manner and a lot of the things done behind the scenes by them are simply left undone.