City of Tower moves projects forward, slowly

Again considers combining fire departments with Breitung Township 

TUESDAY, October 10, 2017 — The Tower City Council met Tuesday evening to conduct its regular business and took action which will help some of its projects move forward. Acting Mayor Lance Dougherty called the meeting to order in Mayor Josh Carlson’s absence. Tackling the first business item on the agenda, correspondence from Breitung Township Chairman Tim Tomsich, Dougherty provided the council with a review of the status on combining the two communities’ fire departments into one department. Dougherty said that the project reached an impasse when Breitung decided to utilize its existing Minos building, which will become vacant in November, as a new firehall facility rather than continuing to work towards building a new joint firehall. The general consensus of the city council was to continue towards combining the fire departments.

Breitung Supervisor Greg Dostert reported the Breitung Fire Department is “one hundred percent in favor of a merger.” He cited a need for a joint building “but a fire department only,” referring to Tower’s previous desire to build a new government complex capable of housing all of the city’s firehall, ambulance, city hall and the maintenance department. “I don’t want to say that I wasted my time for four years. If you don’t want to merge, kill this thing now. I’m tired of waiting around,” Dostert concluded.

Dougherty noted that although a combined fire department would save money, there will also be some additional expenses incurred. The city council unanimously decided to table any further consideration towards combining fire departments into a single department until the Tower firefighters were consulted and a full, five-member, council was available. It is expected the city council will again visit Breitung Township’s request to move forward on combining the fire departments at its October 23 meeting.

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