By Gail Peckler-Dziki~Correspondent
Representatives from seven communities west of I-94 and one hospital gathered at the Bristol Village Hall on March 18 to hear a presentation by representatives from the International City/County Managers Association (ICMA) discuss a possible study regarding emergency services.
Representatives from the towns of Salem, Wheatland, Paris, Somers and Randall and the villages of Silver Lake and Bristol as well as United Hospital Systems were present.
Joe Pozzo, senior manager for fire and EMS, explained three models of consolidation alternatives. The first is a functional consolidation. This would involve retaining separate fire departments and consolidating functional areas like fire prevention efforts, training or a joint training center.
The second is a partial consolidation that would still retain separate fire departments but include agreements to address specific challenges like joint station staffing and shared jurisdictional response.
The third is a full consolidation where separate fire and emergency departments are merged into one fire department through a formal process.
Pozzo explained that his company would receive data from all participating departments. “We would look at response times, workload, volunteer turn-out and on-response along with other operational and fiscal information for one year from each department to establish benchmarks.”
ICMA would be looking at both fiscal and operational efficiency. The company would provide GIS (geographic information system) mapping that would show where most calls generate and also include future land use plan information.
The estimated cost would be $1 per capita. That means the Town of Salem, with a population of over 12,000 would pay over $12,000, while the village of Silver Lake with a population of about 2,500 would pay that amount in dollars.
Salem Town Chairman Diann Tesar later said that price tag was a consideration, “Although there is a possibility that we could save that using information from the study.”
The Village of Paddock Lake contracts fire and rescue services from the Town of Salem and, according to village president Marlene Goodson, has no intention of participating in the study. “We get a great deal on great services from Salem.”
Silver Lake Village President Jeff Albrecht has expressed interest in the study, considering difficulties Silver Lake experiences regarding the funding of replacement equipment and finding volunteers. Recently the village hired one firefighter to be in the fire department during the day.
May 1 is the deadline for municipalities to discuss the study and decide whether or not to participate. Bristol Administrator Randy Kerkman had draft intergovernmental agreements for representatives to bring back to full boards. Bristol will act on behalf of those who wish to participate, collecting and dispersing funds for the study.
Who is the ICMA?
The ICMA was founded in 1914 as the City Manager’s Association and interested in the development of the council-manager form of local government, combining the experience of an appointed local government manager or administrator with the political leadership of elected officials.
The City Managers’ Association was formed to bring reform and accountability to local governments and to advocate for professional management in local government.
The name was changed in 1989 to the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) to reflect the diversity of its expanding membership.
Today ICMA represents 8,000 local government executives and urban experts in 28 countries. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., ICMA has two permanent offices outside the United States: ICMA Latinoamérica, located in Mexico, and ICMA South Asia, located in India. Current project locations include Bolivia, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan.