Janesville resident to petition council’s decision to build a new fire station

Resident opposed to project's price tag
Janesville resident to petition council’s decision to build a new fire station

A new petition drive in Janesville could alter the city’s decision to build a new fire house and give community members a vote on the issue.

Janesville resident Billy McCoy is fighting back against the city’s decision to build a $9.6 million center fire station, saying he and other residents are “fed up” with both the city’s spending and the closed session the council held last year regarding the plans for the new station. McCoy has started a petition asking council to resend its decision.

“It’s time that these people realize, you know they say one thing and turn around and try to do something else, or they go behind closed doors and want to do something. The citizens are fed up with it,” he said.

McCoy needs the support of 3,165 residents to sign the petition. A referendum would require the city to allow residents to vote to support or reject council’s decision to build the new central fire house during the November elections.

“The citizens here in Janesville do not have the money. We are tired of our property taxes being so high, we can’t afford it. We have people working three or four different jobs, four or five hours a day, just to stay in their homes,” McCoy said.

The discussion to build a new fire station started 20 years ago, and the council members said they are standing by their decision and will continue to move forward.

“It would be great to go back and restart over 20 years ago and reduce the cost. The reality is, this is what we have to work with now and we are trying to put together the most cost efficient facility. But also have a facility that is available that we will be able to use for the quickest response time, not only now but also for several, several years in the future,” said council president, Duanye Severson.

The new station would replace Fire Station No. 1, with the city’s plans to build the building between Centerway, Prospect, and Milton avenues. The construction would also require 12 homes to be demolished.

Severson said despite the potential cost, the upgrades are necessary to ensure the community’s safety

“The current fire station is grossly outdated. It does not provide the needs and services for our firefighters to do their jobs appropriately. We need to help them, because ultimately they are going to help us, when a need does arise,” Severson said.