City of Marshfield fails to pass either referendum on ballot, leaving schools and first responders in limbo

The fire department took a record 4100 calls in 2022 as their staff shrunk
Published: Apr. 4, 2023 at 10:53 PM CDT
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MARSHFIELD, Wis. (WSAW) - The news that the referendum failed is not what members of the Marshfield Fire Department wanted to hear.

Fire Chief Pete Fletty said the department received a record 4,100 9-1-1 calls last year but saw staff size shrink from 39 down to 36 people in the process. In the last decade, the City of Marshfield has seen a similar decline as calls for fire and EMS services increase by 55%, while still seeing staff decrease.

Even though the referendum didn’t pass, some voters still saw the value in it.

Marshfield resident Andrew Lundquist said, “Looking at the numbers, seeing the increase in 9-1-1 calls, seeing those statistics, and seeing they need actual officers, I thought that was good. Something that was needed throughout the community.”

Had the referendum passed, the department was looking to add nine firefighter/paramedic positions. Now, it’s back to the drawing board to solve the difficulties facing the Marshfield Fire Department.

Additionally, the city also failed to pass the school district referendum that would have approved $99.5 million for Marshfield schools. The money would have been paid for by the public for a district-wide school building and facility improvement project.

Marshfield School District Superintendent Dr. Ryan Christianson said, “We appreciate the feedback we received from voters on the proposed facility improvement projects. Though the April 4 facility referendum was not approved by voters, we remain positive about the future as we look ahead to getting back to work on how best to address the facility challenges that remain in the school district.”

While the aging infrastructure and building systems, site safety, and academic needs of the district remain, the School Board and district administration stated they will take time to re-evaluate the proposed solution and will re-engage the community when the next steps are determined.