Judge Rules in Wisconsin Fire District Funding Squabble

The battle between five Wisconsin municipalities over the allocations of costs for their jointly controlled fire district has been resolved, at least for the time being. Last week a Chippewa County judge ruled that the Village of Lake Hallie cannot deduct tax incremental financing (TIF) from its valuation for purposes of establishing its proportionate contribution to the Chippewa Fire District.

Lake Hallie filed suit last year against the towns of Lafayette, Howard, Hallie and Wheaton over funding for the Chippewa Fire District. The village sought to continue it’s practice of deducting TIF from its overall evaluation. Each community funds the fire district based upon the proportional property values protected.

The four towns argue that the village’s practice requires them to subsidize property in Lake Hallie. The judge agreed requiring all parties to pay based upon their respective property values without an offset for TIF money.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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