Wisecup changing hats in South Routt Jan. 1

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— At the next Oak Creek Town Board meeting, Public Works Director Chuck Wisecup will hand in his official resignation. On Jan. 1, Wisecup will walk away from the public works department he has worked in for almost 20 years and take a job as the full-time fire chief of the Oak Creek Fire Protection District.

For years, Wisecup has worked part time in both jobs hoping for the boost to full time in the fire district, but, until this year, the timing was wrong and the money wasn't there.

At a special meeting of the Oak Creek Fire Board held Monday night, the decision was made to move Wisecup to full time.

Wisecup told the town of Oak Creek more than a month ago it should be advertising for the public works position, but he did not give them an official resignation pending a decision from the fire board.

"I was confident (that I would get the full-time status)," Wisecup said. "But with boards, you never know."

The town of Oak Creek advertised for a new public works director and a water-treatment plant operator and scheduled interviews for Nov. 8.

"I have been trying to train the people I have and the new person will hopefully be on board 30 or 40 days before I step down and I will train him," Wisecup said. He also promised the town he would be available to answer any questions for two or three months after he takes the fire chief position, he said.

The full-time fire chief position was funded by a property tax increase approved by Oak Creek and Stagecoach voters in the May elections.

The fire district requested to raise the mill levy from 4.392 to 9.9382 for, among other things, construction of a new firehouse in Stagecoach.

The tax increase will go into effect in 2003.

Wisecup is already at work on a set of goals that he plans to present at the upcoming fire board meeting, he said.

A preliminary budget is in the works for 2003. So far, the only set expense is the purchase of a new ambulance paid for with a state EMS grant and reserve funds, Wisecup said.

The new Stagecoach firehouse is scheduled for 2005, but the board has discussed pushing it forward to 2004.

In the meantime, Wisecup said, the fire district is discussing the possibilities of a temporary structure.

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