06-09-2003, 01:09 PM #1
5 UTah Cities might consolidate Fire/Paramedics
5 cities consider pooling fire, paramedic services
By Larry Weist
Deseret Morning News
CENTERVILLE — Cities in southern Davis County are looking for ways to save money in their fire departments while improving paramedic service in the area through a consolidation of fire departments.
Centerville Mayor Michael Deamer, who heads the group of mayors looking into the proposal, said after a work meeting of officials from the five cities the group's goals are to reach an economy of scale in operations, reduce overlapping of services where the cities intersect and enhance paramedic services. A centralized dispatch office is also part of the plan.
Cities involved are North Salt Lake, Woods Cross, West Bountiful, Bountiful and Centerville.
Deamer noted the cities earlier this year entered into a mutual aid agreement that allows the nearest fire department to respond to an emergency, and that has proved to be beneficial in serving residents.
All of the cities except Bountiful are members of the South Davis Fire District. The proposed new consolidation, tentatively called the Legacy Consolidated Fire District by Bountiful Fire Chief George Sumner, would also include Farmington, which has its own fire department.
The consolidation would save the cities money, and also the county, which is suffering a financial shortfall "and ought to look at all services they can get out of and disgorge as much as they can back to cities and save money," Deamer told the group.
Although County Commission Chairman Dan McConkie has written a letter to the South Davis Fire District saying he would consider transferring paramedics if the districts were consolidated, Deamer said it would be tough to persuade Sheriff Bud Cox to give up the paramedics.
Bountiful City Manager Tom Hardy said it's time for the sheriff's office to get out of the paramedic business and put paramedics where virtually every other organization in the country has put them — in the local fire departments.
"We think the potential is there and there certainly are challenges, but it's not insurmountable," Hardy said
LaMar Holt, a Davis County deputy auditor, told the group he believes the county commission will defer to Cox in deciding whether to give up paramedics.Front line since 1983 and still going strong
06-16-2003, 07:58 PM #2
Correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds as though consolidation and shifting resources around will benefit Bountiful by having paramedics in town instead of coming mutual aid. It all sounds good so long as the shift doesn't leave discrepancies elsewhere around the area. Consolodation tends to reduce expenses, but time shall tell right?
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