Three new firefighters have been hired by the Pierz Fire Department, bringing the number of volunteer firefighters to 29.
Monday, the Pierz Council approved hiring Mark Dzieweczynski, Bob Gruber and Josh Andrea, as recommended by Fire Chief Brian Boser and Assistant Fire Chief Greg Fuhrman.
Boser said of the nine applicants, eight were interviewed.
Boser said all the candidates were excellent and it was hard to decide which to hire. A point system was used during the interview process to make the decision a bit easier. “We’re very fortunate to have that problem,” he said.
Mayor Toby Egan, who is also a volunteer firefighter, said, “I hope whoever didn’t get hired this time will look to the next time.”
Fuhrman also told the Council the department had applied for a $277,000 Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant to replace the department’s two oldest pumpers.
The entire project for the pumper/engine is $375,000. The department has a minimum of 5 percent which is required in order to apply for the grant, said Council Member Mike Menden, who is also a firefighter.
“We also have an additional 35 percent covered by the city and the Eastern Morrison Fire Association,” he said, explaining why only $277,000 was requested in the grant.
“Kudos to everyone who worked on the grant,” said Egan. “It is a ton of work.”
Fire Chief Brian Boser said the department could learn whether it will receive the grant as early as the fall or perhaps not for nine or 10 months.
As the last order of business for the Fire Department, the Council approved the appointment of Fuhrman, who now has 26 years of service as a firefighter, as assistant fire chief for another three years and Todd Preimesberger as the department’s secretary, also for another three years.
Pierz City Council Briefs
In business at its Monday’s meeting, the Pierz City Council:
• Heard Public Works Supervisor Bob Otremba conducted a sidewalk inspection, marking with paint areas that constitute a tripping hazard. He said about 2,000 square feet of sidewalk needs to be replaced as part of general maintenance. Mayor Toby Egan asked Otremba to contact affected property owners in person, before they receive a letter from the city to replace the sidewalk. The city shares the cost of the sidewalk replacement with the owners 50/50, unless the owner decides to replace the sidewalk themselves, then they pay 100 percent;
• Approved updates to the police policy manual made by Police Chief Eric Hanneken. The changes were required to maintain compliance with Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) standards. Five of the 13 sections needed updating;
• Approved a gambling permit for the Pierz Lions during Oktoberfest, Sunday, Aug. 26;
• Learned bids for the city’s property on Peter Avenue were due this past Wednesday. The Council will learn what they are the July 23 meeting;
• Set Monday, July 30, at 5:30 p.m. as the date and time for a budget work session;
• Approved the Small Cities Development Program grant contract; and
• Were assured the payment to Minnesota Power was for the city’s electric bill only, and did not include the $5,000 extra the company was asking to make up for under-billing the city, as advised by the city’s attorney. Mayor Toby Egan said he didn’t appreciate a representative of Minnesota Power coming to City Hall and expressing displeasure at the recent news articles about the city’s issues with the company.
The next meeting for the Pierz City Council will be held Monday, July 23, at 7 p.m.