Morning history. Random find. Ten years ago this week, the Wake County Board of Commissioners received a presentation from county staff on the future of fire service in the Fire Tax District, which comprises the unincorporated areas of the county plus the town of Wendell. The county funds protection in those areas through contracts with private (non-profit) and municipal fire departments.
The presentation noted that the budget for same could not be sustained in its present form, and that savings could be achieved through such strategies as consolidations and mergers, realignment of stations, and shared use of resources.
Further, they confirmed/affirmed that no property tax increase would be considered, until sustainability strategies were identified and pursued. Thus their action steps included identifying areas for potential consolidations, such as the areas around Falls Lake, Swift Creek, and Little River/Eastern Wake County. Also, county staff would begin meeting with the boards of the private fire departments, to share this perspective and begin discussions on consolidations and/or other strategies for long-term financial sustainability.
Then what happened? County staff did just that and some consolidations (BLFD + SHFD = NWFD), mergers (EWFD > KFD), and station realignments (RFD < NHFD Sta 1) happened. They also (and more importantly) embarked on a multi-year project to collect data, review data, and build a service-delivery model based on that data, to determine the “right size” for delivery in the Fire Tax District.
Readers, anything missing in that high-level take?
See the slide deck (PDF)
See these Legeros research notes for a big honkin’ historical perspective.