Potential Intergovernmental Agreement with Lane Fire Authority
Santa Clara Fire District (SCFD) and Lane Fire Authority (LFA) are currently engaged in discussions about teaming up to jointly provide all fire district services to the residents of SCFD and LFA. This would take the form of an Intergovernmental Agreement, also known as an ORS 190 agreement. The purpose of this page is to provide the public with information relating to such an agreement, as well as explain how this agreement would impact SCFD and LFA residents. This page, along with all sub-pages related to the potential IGA, will be periodically updated with new information as it becomes available.
An IGA is not the same as a merger. Under a merger, all aspects of the two districts are merged together. This results in changes to tax rates and elected official positions. An IGA, which is what SCFD and LFA are considering, merges the operations but not the finances of the organizations. This means that both districts would maintain their own budgets, tax rates, and elected officials. However, resources would be pooled in order to increase operational efficiency.
What is an Intergovernmental Agreement?
An Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) is an agreement between two public entities to provide services together. In the case of SCFD and LFA, this agreement would pertain to all fire district services. IGAs do not raise taxes for residents and both districts maintain ownership over their own assets. The resources of each district, while separately owned, are used together in order to increase operational efficiency and improve the level of service provided to the public.
An IGA sometimes leads to a full merger. However, Lane Fire Authority Chief Terry Ney and Santa Clara Fire Chief Randy Wood do not see a full merger as a legitimate option at this point in time because of the difference between LFA and SCFD's permanent tax rates.
Have Fire Service IGAs been successful in Lane County?
Many fire protection agencies in Lane County have recently entered into IGAs or mergers in order to provide a higher quality of service to the residents of their jurisdictions. Recent successful examples include:
Lane Rural Fire/Rescue and Lane County Fire District #1
Eugene and Springfield Fire Departments
Goshen and Pleasant Hill Fire Districts
These fire service providers increased their level of service through IGAs without raising taxes.
Why do SCFD and LFA need an IGA?
Both SCFD and LFA are receiving more calls per year, but they are getting less help from volunteer staff. Nationwide, calls for service are increasing and the number of volunteers is decreasing. Santa Clara and LFA are no exceptions.
By combining personnel, SCFD and LFA could establish a fire engine that is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This engine would be based out of LFA Station 115. Establishing a 24/7 staffed engine company would decrease the time between a 911 call and the engine arriving on scene.
An IGA is not the only option for addressing these issues. It does, however, have the advantage of not requiring an increase in taxes. Other options, like hiring more staff or contracting with the City of Eugene, would require higher taxes.
This chart shows the number of calls SCFD responded to in the first half of the year for 2015, 2016, and 2017. Mid-year calls are up by over 40% compared to 2015.
Can SCFD and LFA work well together?
SCFD and LFA have a long history of successful collaboration. The two districts own and operate a training facility together, and put their recruit firefighters through a joint fire academy. LFA and SCFD already respond to many of each other's calls through mutual and automatic aid agreements. The two districts also share a weekend duty officer.
IGA-Related Studies and Research
In preparation for IGA discussions, the staff of SCFD and LFA have created several research documents regarding the IGA. These include a SWOT analysis and a response time study. To view these documents, along with relevant meeting minutes from IGA discussions, please click on the "IGA-Related Documents" button below.
SCFD and LFA Welcome Your Comments!
SCFD and LFA are committed to a transparent IGA process, and we welcome the public's comments. We also encourage members of the public to attend regular SCFD Board Meetings and IGA-related Special Meetings. To provide public comment, or to see what other members of the public have said, click on the "Public Comment" button below.
To learn more about the proposed IGA between SCFD and LFA, click on one of the buttons below.