Wrapping up in Rapids: An update with Mayor Zach Vruwink
By Taylor J. Hale
MMC Staff Writer
WISCONSIN RAPIDS – Mayor Zach Vruwink spoke with City Times staff to give an update on all things Wisconsin Rapids. This week, Vruwink discussed ongoing firefighter negotiations, new street department vehicles, and Migratory Bird Day.
City works on firefighter staff negotiations
Vruwink said that the city is working with the International Association of Firefighters Local No. 425 to negotiate final wages, health options, and other employee benefits for city fire crews. The negotiations are part of the routine contract renewal process.
City officials noted that the talks are still in the early stages and only time will tell what changes may come to the employment package, though Vruwink expects a similar contract.
“It’s still being actively negotiated, so it’s too early to tell what will come as a result,” Vruwink said. “It’s really between our city attorney, HR committee, and the union reps.”
Contracts in the city usually last roughly two years. Vruwink expects that negotiations will be finalized by March.
New utility trucks come to Rapids
Finance committee members approved the purchase of three new work trucks for the streets department at a meeting earlier in January.
The new vehicles are a one-ton truck with a stainless dump box, purchased from Johnson and Sons for $87,276, and two 4-wheel-drive, half-ton pickup trucks, purchased from Wheelers for $88,126.50.
Vruwink noted that the city would re-circulate the “retired” street department vehicles into other sectors of the city.
“The old trucks will circulate into the rest of our fleet,” Vruwink explained. “It can be utilized in another less demanding environment, maybe given to city inspections, for example.”
Leaders approve Migratory Bird Day
City leaders are slated to declare June 6 and Sept. 13 as World Migratory Bird Days in Wisconsin Rapids.
The resolution is a requirement for the municipality to maintain its Bird City status.
Vruwink is excited to celebrate World Migratory Bird Day and feels Wisconsin Rapids is a prime location for bird watching.
“Given the preserve of the Wisconsin River and trails and urban forests, bird watching is of great interest in our community, and this is something that we can do to support that,” Vruwink said.