Plans to consolidate six fire departments into one super department have been in the news for a while now. This week however, the results are in. Plante Moran helped conduct the study and handed 51 pages of final reports to Fire Chief Cowper who turned it into a fifteen minute presentation at the last Township Board Meeting.
Three was the magic number of the evening. There are three phases to get the fire stations ready for the merger. There are three consolidation plans that estimate savings in the millions of dollars. There are three objectives that need to happen for this merger to be a success.
Three number one: The three phases are steps on how to share equipment, training and schedules between the stations. Fire Chief Cowper said that the stations are already doing two of the three phases.
Three number two: If Meridian Township and East Lansing fire stations combined, they would save $1.5 million dollars annually. If Lansing, East Lansing, and Lansing Township combined, they would save $10.4 million dollars annually. If all six departments combined, they would save $7.9 million dollars annually.
Three number three: By adding part time paramedic fire fighters, reducing the number of administration staff and assigning firefighters to stations, not apparatuses, would save more money.
What surprised me the most, with all of this consolidation talk, was when Fire Chief Cowper told me there has been no resistance to the plans. That as a board, the six fire chiefs agreed to do this. Which is pretty incredible considering that Fire Chief Cowper mentioned at the meeting, with the new consolidated plan, there may only be need for one Fire Chief, meaning five will lose their positions. I wonder how they will decide who gets it?