The Petersburg Community Fire Protection District is breaking off to form its own fire department, and it’s under contract to buy a building that wasn’t appraised.
District trustee Dave Leischner, appearing on the Ray Lytle Show, says the building is worth far more than the 320-thousand dollar purchase price.
“The building was available, it met our needs, there’s no question it’s worth a great deal more than $320,000,” says Lesichner. “It’s a very very large building. It has concrete floors almost throughout the building.”
Leischner says the district had no choice but to form its own fire department when it couldn’t communicate with the city of Petersburg to negotiate a new price for fire protection.
Residents in Lake Petersburg and other rural areas that had been served by the city of Petersburg for fire protection are worried about the plan, and they say they’ve been given little to no information as to why the move is being made. Those opposed to the plan say the Petersburg Community Fire Protection District is spending hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars on creation of a new department when it could instead spend tens of thousands extra on a new contract with the city of Petersburg.
Leischner sees the proposed price increase as a 45 percent hike. The trustees didn’t want to accept that without negotiations — negotiations Leischner says the city refused to have. He would love to cancel the new department’s creation, but he doesn’t see how that could happen as the city forced the fire district’s hands.
“I would like to think that if there’s a way to get out of it… I would love to see that happen,” says Leischner. “I think it would be very difficult at this point. The ball is in (Petersburg Mayor) John Stiltz’s court. All he had to do was pick up the phone and get together with us. They had two months to negotiate a contract and chose to not even give us the courtesy of a response to a letter.”