FREDONIA: Damage isn’t all visible

How stable is the village of Fredonia and its finances for the future? If you want just a small indication, look no further than the Fredonia Fire Hall, which is located on Main Street.

On the outside, you can see the exterior damage from the lack of upkeep on the building. Decisions were made by previous Village Boards to not invest in upkeep of the structure. Instead, however, they invested in a program in the emergency medical service that was supposed to bring in revenue.

It has done that, but it still runs at a deficit. In other words, more than $100,000 could have been put toward the deteriorating structure instead of being put into a personnel line, which will continue to grow.

An even scarier proposition, however, is what Fredonia cannot see. Plenty of discussion has revolved around whether the village needed to be part of the north county water district. Four years ago, the village put up its nose and continued to go forward on its own.

There’s no hiding the damage to the fire hall. It’s there for all to see. But a majority of the water system is underground. No one knows just how much trouble truly exists because it is not visible.

As an indication, a report issued in 2008 found that 50 percent to 80 percent of the distribution system needed to be replaced. That’s not even taking into account the dam and spillway repairs that top $10 million.

Nine years after that report has been issued, the village continued business as usual. How’s that working out at the fire hall?