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The Prairie du Sac Fire Department's 2019 budget is up less than one percent from last year.

The Prairie du Sac Fire Department is asking for an additional $904 for its 2019 budget. A change of less than one percent more than 2018, according to Prairie du Sac Fire Department President Bob Koch. The department is seeking $142,323 from the village for 2019.

Koch said the minor increase is due to general rising costs of equipment and materials.

“Part of our budget includes natural gas and electric for the building as well,” Koch said. “Those costs go up just like anything.”

One major cost-saving measure for the department stemmed from a collaboration with the village of Prairie du Sac on the installation of more than 50 solar panels on the back of the building.

Prairie du Sac Village Administrator Alan Wildman said solar panels were installed at both the fire department and the public works building, and are being funded three ways.

“One way we are paying for it is the village secured a 10-year loan with zero interest through WPPI Energy,” Wildman said. “We are also applying for funding through Focus on Energy. The funds not covered by what we get through Focus on Energy will be paid through the WPPI loan.”

In addition, Wildman said the amount of the loan over a 10-year period is about equal to that of the cost-savings the fire department is projected to see, therefor the amount of dollars realized by cost savings will go toward paying down the loan.

Koch said the department doesn’t have plans for any capital projects or other major costs beyond maintaining its equipment cache.

The Prairie du Sac Fire Department is 100 percent volunteer with 35 members. Koch said the department prides itself on its training efforts for its crew.

“For many of the last five years we’ve had the most state certified level two firefighters,” Koch said. “There are other state certifications like pump operator, instructor or fire officer, but firefighter level two is a benchmark for someone at the firefighting level. At least at one point we had 90 percent of firefighters at level two, which was the highest in Sauk County.”

Follow Autumn Luedke on Twitter @Apwriter1 or contact at (608) 393-5777

Reporter, Sauk Prairie Eagle