"In this case, we're not talking about closing any, so you don't have that political problem. Henken said because 10 stations would remain, there would not be a dramatic reduction in staffing under the model the forum used for its report."There would be a reduction in terms of command staff, the most obvious is instead of needing five chiefs, you'd only need one.The chiefs are looking at consolidating the stations into one district to serve the rapidly growing region just south of the city of Madison.La Follette School students share their findings about consolidating fire and emergency services.This would produce efficiencies but probably not a lot of saving, Henken said.The five departments have a total of 10 fire stations.As far as vehicles, the consolidated department would need 25 engines, ambulances and ladder trucks compared with the current 40 the departments have, Henken said.Henken said the report was undertaken after the Public Policy Forum and the Greater Milwaukee Committee last year suggested to the Intergovernmental Cooperation Council that in light of increasingly challenging municipal budget pressures that a more formalized process be created to explore shared services and consolidation opportunities.
The students recommended the municipalities consolidate their fire and emergency medical services.The model that we created would actually add back a couple of assistant chiefs because you'd need that for a larger department.But the way we developed the model, we did not reduce the number firefighting staff in the region," Henken said.The students only considered consolidation as an alternative to the current arrangement of services."The expanded EMS services, property insurance savings, and benefits associated with joint purchasing of apparatus and maintenance services provide substantial benefits to the community relative to the costs," the students wrote.The North Shore department has a formula based on population, activity level and equalized value, Henken said.Although there is a savings overall, the report notes that Hales Corners might end up paying more under a consolidated department for fire and EMS services because it has a paid, on-call department now.Under full consolidation, all 10 would remain open, with chiefs saying these stations were needed to effectively serve the region, the report says. aren't as great as they would be if indeed you were looking at reducing the number of firehouses." Although that political issue likely won't come up, another possibly thorny one would."That's often one of the most dicey political issues when it comes to consolidation approaches, because deciding which firehouse to close is often a very touchy issue," Henken said. "On the financial side, weighing potential cost savings against the loss of local control is a difficult endeavor," the report notes."A lot of local alders, council members and other policymakers also showed.The audience seemed interested and receptive to our analysis and conclusions." The study estimated personnel costs based on information the fire chiefs provided.