Municipalities hear presentation on fire department consolidation study

fire-hose-mf-kconnors-webRepresentatives of some Western Kenosha County municipalities met today for what might be the first step toward commissioning a consolidation study of local fire departments.

Representatives of Bristol, Paris, Salem, Silver Lake, Somers and Randall attended. Present at the meeting at the Bristol Municipal Building were a mix of municipal and fire department officials.

No decision was made at the meeting, but the representatives agreed to decide whether to proceed with a study by May 1.

The bulk of the meeting was taken up by a presentation from Joseph Pozzo and Leonard Matarese from the International City/County Management Association, the proposed consultant for the study. The pair described what the study could include and how it would be carried out.

The study would look at all existing participating departments and propose increased efficiency through cooperation of services or perhaps a full consolidation. Among the  types of studies that would be done would be mapping that would show response times from existing fire stations in the study area. Many of the topics explored in typical consolidation studies — such as consolidating dispatch or formalizing cooperative service agreements — are already in place here.

The current proposed cost for the study would be $1 per capita for the participating municipalities.

Some insight into the concerns of local officials came in the questions period after the presentation by the ICMA reps.

Patrick Casey, Salem town administrator, said he would like to avoid having too much overlapping equipment and stations in the area just because there are a lot of different departments and jurisdiction, as he said has developed in the Milwaukee area and northern Illinois.

“The future is more important than the present,” Casey said.

Salem Fire/Rescue Chief David Slover raised the possibility of seeking study proposals from other organizations. Bristol village administrator Randy Kerkman, who has been spearheading the effort,  said he proposed ICMA because he was impressed with work they did elsewhere and he felt they would offer a non-biased viewpoint.

Whether the process will continue will depend somewhat on how many municipalities agree to participate. Matarese said that if municipalities of too small a combined population are all that’s interested, the study might not be practical.

Regardless, the officials present seemed to think the evening was worthwhile.

“I think it’s a good starting point,” said Paris town Chairman Virgil Gentz. “I’m glad we’re here tonight.”






  1. Pat Wilson says:

    Why not use the previous study? This was done few years ago and it showed a Salem Fire building at Highway 50 and B. That would get rid of the embarassment of the Silver Lake Fire Deoartment!!!

  2. Resident says:

    I think consolidation would be a good thing; unfortunately, the “richer” of the municipalities is going to get taken for a ride. Paris has pretty much new trucks. But, I guess it would be a give and take sort of thing – Paris would need to share the trucks and Bristol would need to share their knowledge.

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