Cities Close To Combining Fire, Emergency Services
Photo: Video by kmtv.com
Papillion and La Vista are close to signing an agreement to combine fire and emergency services. Both city councils will vote on the agreement Tuesday night at their meetings. They say it will help both cities, as they continue to grow.
The Papillion and La Vista Fire Departments have worked separately for decades with the major difference being Papillion currently has a full-time paid department, while La Vista is a volunteer department. La Vista Mayor Doug Kindig says it ensures public safety for years to come in the growing city.
"This is a very tough decision that the council had to make, we've got an extremely dedicated group of volunteers that have served the city for years, but their growth in numbers has not kept up with the city's growth," Mayor Kindig explained.
The agreement would add 12 full time firefighters to Papillion's existing crew and assign them to all 4 stations in both cities. La Vista officials say is more cost efficient than having their own paid department. They estimate it would take 22-26 full time firefighters for the city. In the fast growing neighborhood of Val Vista many KMTV spoke with, including Leo Kluch, say it's the right choice.
"My personal view is that it's long overdue, and I would take it a little beyond that and look at combining additional services,” Kluch explained. "As a taxpayer I see a lot of duplication there."
Papillion has had an agreement with the rural fire district for years so all three, La Vista, Papillion, and rural will share the cost.
Papillion Mayor David Black says, 'We've considered the finances of this carefully. It just makes sense. This is the kind of government cooperation and efficiency people want.”
If the agreement is approved, and after city budgets pass, it will take effect in April.