Council approves annual contribution to Pierz Fire Relief Association

By Terry Lehrke, News Editor

The city’s annual contribution for the retirement plan for Pierz firefighters will remain the same as in 2012 — $9,100.

This number was calculated at $350 per firefighter, based on 26 firefighters. Although the number of firefighters has increased to 29, the Pierz Fire Relief Association didn’t ask for more.

Last year, the Pierz City Council chose to add the annual contribution as a line item to its budget, ensuring the city would have the funds. Next year, the Council asked the Association to submit a request for the amount needed for a contribution for each firefighter, before its budget planning started.

Jeff Fuhrman and Steve Boser, representing the Fire Department, said the Relief Association has been working to keep its retirement account fully funded at 100 percent or better.

“We’re trying to stay 100 percent funded so we don’t run into trouble like 2008,” said Fuhrman.

Fuhrman said if the townships matched the city’s contribution as they have in the past, the fund would be funded at 107 percent.

Council Member Stephanie Fyten, in making a motion to approve the contribution, said the firefighters showed dedication and the amount was “well worth it.”

“You guys do a good job,” she said.

With Council Member Mike Menden absent and Mayor Toby Egan and Council Member Don Bujalski, both firefighters, abstaining, the motion passed with “yes” votes from Fyten and Council Member Matt Bell.

Pierz City Council Briefs

In other business during the Council’s regular Monday meeting, the Council:

• Tabled setting a date for the Robert Street and Park Avenue Finance Committee to meet. City Administrator Anna Gruber and Council Member Mike Menden were absent;

• Learned the city’s auditor would be in the city offices during the week;

• Heard part-time police officer Hasten Warnberg report the police department had responded to 66 calls in January, up from 44 in January 2011. Of the 66 calls, 11 had to do with violations of the parking ordinance. The city’s parking ordinance prohibits vehicles from being parked on streets between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m., to allow for snow removal;

• Learned from Golf Course Superintendent Daniel Baert that he was trying to get the Park Board together for a meeting Monday, to discuss returning employees at the golf course and clubhouse. Baert also said the newly-fallen snow had covered up the cross country ski trail on the course, which has become popular, and that anyone working to break the trail again should stay close to the previous trail; and

• Approved a request by the Eastern Morrison County Four-Wheeler Club, in cooperation with the Department of Natural Resources, to post food/lodging and camping signs for people following the Soo Line Trail who come into town. This approval is provided the county be notified and give permission for signs on Park Avenue, which is a county road.

The next meeting for the Pierz City Council will be held Monday, Feb. 25, at 7 p.m.