1. #1
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    Default Dropped the ball

    Looks like someone in their city government really dropped the ball on this one.

    http://www.wistv.com/Global/story.asp?S=12031590

    Bishopville is not a big town by any means although they do have a nice little down town distric, but it has got to be rough not having fire service in town now.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by LFDAO10 View Post
    Looks like someone in their city government really dropped the ball on this one.

    http://www.wistv.com/Global/story.asp?S=12031590

    Bishopville is not a big town by any means although they do have a nice little down town distric, but it has got to be rough not having fire service in town now.
    I've seen this same thing happen before. A city signs a contract with a county fire department and turns over assets. After a few years, the county department begins to treat the city and its citizens differently than the people in the county. The justification is the city is where most of the funding revenue is generated so they increase fees to the city and expect the city to pick up the tab for equipment. When contract negotiations fall apart, the city loses.

    Sometimes the county is right and sometimes the city us right, it depends on the situation. Not enough info to know about this one, but I think the Chief may be putting alot on the line and the action may cost him more than he gains. This is the ultimate scare tactic and has already had the expected reaction. It is much like saying "I'll show them" and taking your marbles home.

    Since this story is out in the mainstream, you just know that ISO will be checking it. There is no way that the ISO-4 can be maintained if the first due response is 10 minutes or more away and there are no Engine Companies stationed in the town; 1 1/2 road miles from the majority of the homes and businesses.

    ISO-4 had a larger impact on the business insurance than it did on the homeowners, although the homeowners insurance premiums are bottomed out. Since the a portion of the county is ISO-7, I would expect that the city will become a 7 since it most likely has a very good water supply, but all insurance rates will likely go up; that will tick the city people off.

    The reaction might be to vote for a new mayor and council because they didn't sign the contract. But it could go another way just as easily if it is sold in the right way.

    I saw one situation where a county department was most likely right, but they stood their ground and pulled all of their equipment out of the city. It became a hostage negotiation situation. The city buried them after they formed a new fire department. The county department was left with massive debt that they could not support after losing about $500,000 in revenue each year. It nearly wiped them out. The city bailed them out after about 2 years and consolidated under a new agreement giving the city full control for 50 years. That was about 15 years ago and the city grew so much there is almost no county left.

    It will be interesting to see how this plays out.
    HAVE PLAN.............WILL TRAVEL

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    Did I read that right? A full time person was staffed "overnight?"

    Usually vollie departments have a hard time during the day to find staffing. Not sure how it would benefit the department to reduce a full time staff person, hopefully it will be better in the long run.

    It will be interesting to see what happens here.
    Jason Knecht
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    Altoona Fire Dept.
    Altoona, WI

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    I need to correct a mistake. The county has an ISO Rating between 6 and 9. So the town may maintain Class 6 and homeowners insurance may only increase slightly if ISO reaccesses under the current situation. The business owners would suffer alot more.

    The article doesn't really say how many FFs are on duty. Another story gave me the impression that there were 2 FFs on duty 24/7 in the city dept.

    The County (Lee) has a population of about 20,000. The city has a population of about 3600, about 1/5 of the population. I couldn't find the voter numbers county versus city but I would guess that they are about the same percentage; relationally speaking.

    The city just elected a new mayor to serve the remaining term of a vacancy; term ends June 2011; Election in May 2011. So there are 15 months before the city voters can either kick out the mayor or support a new department. It would be my guess that one of the County Commssioners commiteed political suicide by supporting the fire chief decision to move the FFs. He also owns a store in the city so he may find citizens boycott him.

    This is very much like the situation I saw before. This will come down to a battle of wills and elections. I found no discussion about starting a new department, yet.

    LFDAO10: Keep us advised, please.
    HAVE PLAN.............WILL TRAVEL

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