06/29/10 176 W, 2 I - + 17 - 20 Update on New Hanover County Consolidation Plans

FireNews finds this WECT story on the latest from New Hanover County, and plans to move Castle Hayne, Federal Point, Myrtle Grove, and Wrightsboro fire departments under county control. Firefighters raised concerns to county officials at a meeting on Monday night, as well as presented a petition from hundreds of county residents.

They took issue on points ranging from the timetable (the county should move a bit slower) to the data (the volunteer response numbers are actually higher). Touted benefits include improved ISO ratings, more efficient operations, and reduced redundancies.

A combination of paid and volunteer personnel would continue, with the latter consisting of either certified firefighters or Fire Corps members, who are not certified and do not fight fire. County Commissioners will vote on the plans in August, which is a two-month extension.

Read or watch the story for more, which includes copies of the Recommended Action Plan, and a map showing the fire districts before and after. Also see this Star-News article on the subject from Monday.

The action plan document even includes apparatus photos, which is an interesting twist. Usually it’s text and maps and maybe stock images in reports like this.
Legeros - 06/29/10 - 18:10

Lets hope Wake County listens and looks to see how things work out.
Listen Wake - 06/29/10 - 19:40

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!! It didn’t take as long as I thought….
Silver - 06/29/10 - 19:41

The ISO Rating would go down Station 52 the county’s newest station in northern New Hanover County is actually a 9S rating they are just piggy backing off of Castle Hayne’s 6 iso Rating
Anonomus - 06/29/10 - 19:43

The action plan states it is comprehensive in the executive summary, however it is not as there are no budgetary or cost related projections. Indeed there are some interesting elements and key words that are truly appealing, but one key element is missing… how much will it cost? Cost projections and/or budget models should be included in the short, intermediate, and long term projections of the transition – it is essential for planning. Also, what are the county’s trends (tax revenue forecasts, annexation projections, development statistics)? I am truly interested to understand NHC’s methodology as it relates to cost (the pros and cons). A comparison will be helpful, especially if Wake is to even consider this as a model to “track.” For example, have the additional staffing expenses been evaluated to address the worst case scenario if the volunteers all walk out? I’m sure it has been, but it needs to be part of the plan if a true evaluation is to be performed. Is there more information?
A.C. Rich - 06/29/10 - 22:21

Related story from a reader, Castle Hayne FD looking to incorporate, http://www.wect.com/global/story.asp?s=1... Not sure how that exempts them from the intention of the county plan.
Legeros - 06/30/10 - 07:28

“Anonomus,” welcome to the blog. Maybe some others from down that way will add perspectives, and on all sides.

The fire service stands on shoulders, that’s how things happen. The lessons of the past lead the actions of the future. What New Hanover experiences will probably map to other other urban counties in future times. That’s to be expected. A century ago, the volunteer Raleigh Fire Department was approaching a period of transition. City officials, and even the Fire Chief took time to visit paid departments, and those that had reorganized as same. Change is constant, and usually doggone challenging.
Legeros - 06/30/10 - 07:35

I think the article is not exactly correct in its writing. At present OSFM/NCDOI require rural departments to be incorporated. However, if the area of Castle Hayne were to incorporate then the municipal corporation would be able to provide fire protection in whatever way it deemed appropriate. That could mean contracting with Castle Hayne FD as Garner and Wake Forest do with their respective FD’s in Wake County. Or they could seek to have the assets of the FD transferred to the new town and create a town fire department. Or they could contract with the county for protection. It sounds to me as if the FD is pushing municipal incorporation of community. Many years ago Bahama residents along with the Bahama FD sought to do this but they were within the Durham ETJ so they couldn’t. Efforts were made to get Rougemont to do it but that failed.

All of this is quite interesting. New Hanover has pursued this from the beginning by taking over poorly funded departments that were also struggling for personnel/volunteers. That makes it much easier than dealing with a system like Wake County were funding has already been addressed and there seem to be more volunteers (at least at some stations). They also began this in the early 1990’s.
D.Cates - 06/30/10 - 12:59

Merging of unincorporated districts seems like a logical future for Wake County, however the logistics are addressed. But probably a far-out timeframe. Ten years hence?
Legeros - 06/30/10 - 17:20

Agreed Chief Cates. The assessment is definitely lacking some “meat.” However, I believe it may be cheaper for a new incorporated town to contract with the county though(?) – Who knows unless we are able to evaluate the financial information.
A.C. Rich - 07/01/10 - 00:35

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