The Public Policy Forum has issued its report looking into fire department consolidation involving Oak Creek and four other area departments.
You’ll recall that the Public Policy Forum is also working on a study involving the potential consolidation of the South Milwaukee, Cudahy and St. Francis Fire Departments, as well as dispatch services. Work on those reports continues. The report on the potential dispatch consolidation is expected in July, while the report on the potential fire consolidation is expected in mid-fall.
I’ll keep you posted as the process continues.
The Oak Creek-Franklin-Hales Corners-Greenfield-Greendale study contains several potential options for consolidation, with some leading to significant cost savings. From the story:
Franklin, Greendale, Greenfield, Hales Corners and Oak Creek could save $1 million annually in operating costs and about $4 million over the next five years in vehicle replacement costs if they formed one fire department, the report released Wednesday states.
The communities could save money if they stopped short of consolidation and shared some services, but the saving would not be as great, said Rob Henken, forum president.
For example, if the communities retained all five fire departments but operated under an “automatic aid agreement” in which the closest unit responds to a fire or EMS call regardless of municipal boundary, the municipalities potentially could save $3.35 million on vehicle replacement costs over five years. The report refers to this set up as an “operational consolidation.”
“Essentially, all calls would be treated as if it was a consolidated department, but still you would have five independent departments that would maintain their own personnel, their own personnel policies, their own equipment,” Henken said.
A third option, the report says, is to share some services, such as fire inspections, vehicle maintenance and training. This would produce efficiencies but probably not a lot of saving, Henken said.
As I’ve posted before, I’m certainly open to considering consolidation locally. But I want to be convinced we won’t be sacrificing service just to save money.
What do you think? Post your comments below!