Below is letter to you: the blog readers of Lockport regarding the Fire Task Force that he created. The hope is for constructive discussion on systems etc that will be financially and performance stable in the years to come. Please comment below (or e-mail Chapman directly) on systems you may have knowlege of from other places you have lived, ones you have read about or even ones you have thought up on your own. Or maybe you are comfortable with the furture cost projections and tax burdens, if so, let that be known too. Please do not troll. Keep comments respectful and on topic.
I can use some help from your bloggers...Ask yourself the following questions:
Will the State continue to allocate Lockport the same amount of funds it has currently allocated or might they reduce their allocation to Lockport?Based upon the current trends; are the CItizens willing to allow for a 50% increase in taxes to sustain the Fire Department over the next 10 years?
I have been accused of picking on the Fire Department, we have multiple issues within multiple departments. As time allows, I would prefer to research all the departments; however, from a percentage of the budget basis, the Fire Department represents the greatest expense to the City. I am hopeful that the analysis template that is being created will be a cost effective / efficient mechanism for the discovery process and will be applied to other departments in the future. We cannot afford consultants, the city is blessed with a large group of dedicated, knowledgeable, and passionate people that are willing to give up their time for a worthy cause. A task force of citizens that represents a good cross section has been assembled.
Our process is simple:
Establish a baseline that represents a "Good Fire Department" . Every aspect of this baseline must be quantifiable and documented accordingly. We are just now establishing the categories that will be included within the baseline. Examples may be ISO rating, response time, cost per incident, % $ lost per incident, average training, # incidences for workers' compensation, $ for workers' compensation, etc. etc...
Apply "Good Fire Department" baseline criteria to a select group of focus cities. The focus cities were chosen not randomly but by analysis of similar demographics, economic decline, square milage footprint etc.etc... Additionally, we will focus on ten other paid Fire Departments that closely reflect similar characteristics as those of LFD.
A weighed matrix depicting our results should clearly indicate what represents a "Good Fire Department". We will then create a strategy to see (if necessary) how we may emulate and apply our findings to LFD.
We will research how others have transitioned their departments, consolidated services, found cost savings.
Our goal is to make (if necessary) a well informed, factual determination, on the future of how Our City will be protected for both Fire and Emergency Medical Services.
Previously, I stated publicly and <here> the following:
Create a long-term strategy to transition our Fire Department into a “Hybrid Department” with the intent of employing paid Administration, Drivers and Ambulance / EMT Professionals, while augmenting additional personnel needs by establishing a volunteer force.
I was wrong in my approach and quite possibly wrong in this plausible solution. Where were my facts? What research supported my opinion? Again, I was wrong. Which allows me to conclude that we must research this thoroughly, without bias, and personal gain/motivations, in an all inclusive environment that promotes a creative approach to a very difficult challenge.
Some may say, "It may be best to allow the financial trends to fulfill their destiny through 2021". I don't believe that to be the proper course of action.
Please, Bloggers be creative, research and be knowledgeable, we all want what is best for the City. We all may have a different opinion on what is best. Again, please help this task force reach some conclusions in what is best for us all.