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Fire Department controversy sparks recall election in Big Bend

BIG BEND, Wis. (CBS 58) -- A special recall election was called in the Village of Big Bend.

On Tuesday, Big Bend residents had a choice to recall current Village Trustee Jeff Goodman or vote in Trenton Sobczak.

The issue that brought many voters to the poll is the future of the Big Bend Fire Department after members of the Village Board started looking at a contract with the Vernon Fire Department.

“They started spreading the rumor that I wanted to eliminate the fire department which I did not,” Goodman said. “Of course I wanted to look into all the budgets and where we could save some money, but at no time did I say I wanted to eliminate any department.”

Goodman was elected as a Trustee in April 2017 and he is also chair of the finance committee. “I started looking into the huge debt Big Bend has, which is over $5-million, and that’s way out of control for a village of 1300 people,” Goodman said.

He said he did not approve of the contract Vernon sent Big Bend, but for many residents, even talk of losing their Fire Department is unsettling.

“The couple of times I had an emergency I’ve had excellent quick response from Big Bend and I want it that way,” Jacky Powell, Big Bend resident said.

Village Trustee Robert Heinemann said a lot of the Village’s debt stems from road construction project. He said the recall election is frustrating.

“There’s lots of animosity going back and forth,” Heinemann said

Frustration not only from members of the village board, but also residents.

“The trustees are not doing what the people who elected them, trusted them to do,” an anonymous voter told CBS 58 Tuesday. “They are not looking out for us.”

CBS 58 did reach out to Sobczak for comment and he did not respond.

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