Will the IGA raise taxes? No. The IGA has no effect on the tax rate.
Where will SCFD employees be stationed? What will be their functions?
Captain Rush and Battalion Chief Staniak would be folded into the rotation for LFA's current line staff. This means that they will work shifts at Station 115, as well as shifts at 113 and 101, which are LFA's other staffed stations. They would be assigned to either an ambulance or the 24/7 engine out of 115, on a rotating schedule. Chief Wood would become an Assistant Chief at LFA, and would be in charge of prevention, maintenance, and training. Chief Ney said in the July 20th Joint Meeting that he does not yet know what roles Intern Firefighter Tibbetts or Administrative Assistant Moore will have, but he intends to keep their positions.
Who will perform maintenance on SCFD equipment and stations? LFA has a full-time logistics and maintenance department that would assume responsibility for maintenance of all SCFD equipment and buildings.
What will be the expected functions of the two SCFD stations? Station 62 will be staffed with volunteers, who would work shifts and spend the night in the living quarters there. Community volunteers could also respond from home to Station 62 as they currently do. The current proposal is to eliminate responses from Station 61 and use it for storage.
What potential cost savings are anticipated?
Chief Ney says the goal of the IGA is not necessarily to save money, but rather to use the same amount of money to provide more "boots on the ground" and increase the level of service provided to the community. For example, by having Chief Wood take over the vacant Assistant Chief job at LFA, Chief Ney doesn't have to hire somebody to take that spot. With the money saved from that, LFA can afford to hire an additional firefighter to staff the 24/7 engine company. Other ways that the two districts could save money is by taking advantage of each other's already existing resources. For example, SCFD would save money on maintenance by using LFA's maintenance department.
Is LFA planning to purchase new equipment or build more stations? If so, how do they plan to pay for it? LFA is currently in the early phases of a strategic planning effort. Chief Ney expects that the strategic plan will include a need for apparatus and building improvements. In order to fund this, LFA anticipates that they will ask the voters of their district to approve a bond. However, this bond would apply only to the LFA district, and SCFD taxpayers would not see an increase in taxes even if the bond is approved by the LFA voters.
What will happen to the current SCFD volunteers? SCFD volunteers would still be able to respond to Station 62 for calls, and volunteers would work shifts at Station 62 as well. SCFD volunteers would also have the opportunity to work shifts at other LFA stations, such as 115 and 101. This allows volunteers to get exposure to different types of calls and get different experiences, which can further their career development.
Why are there so few volunteers in the Irvington area? LFA and SCFD are both suffering from a decrease in volunteers, which is part of a larger nationwide trend. The decrease in volunteer staffing is a large part of why the districts are looking into an IGA.
What operational and financial issues are caused by IGAs?
No major operational issues are expected as a result of the IGA. There will be some minor things that need to be sorted out, like getting used to different equipment and different hose loads on engines. However, the two districts train together frequently and have a joint academy, so operations are expected to transition smoothly. Financially, there are no issues expected and in fact both districts expect to get more "boots on the ground" and provide a better quality of service for the same amount of money. One factor that Chief Ney identified as a wild card is culture. There are different cultures in every organization, and it remains to be seen how that will play out in this scenario. However, Chief Ney and the LFA Board said that they had very minimal issues with culture in their previous merger between Lane Rural Fire/Rescue and Lane County Fire District #1.
What would Board Meetings look like? Chief Ney recommends that the two fire district Boards meet together in the same room for transparency reasons. However, each Board would vote separately on the business of their individual district. The details of how the Boards would operate is a policy decision that the two Boards would need to work out between themselves.