Firefighters throughout Lincoln County are hoping the public shows up to take part in a serious discussion about the future of fire fighting services from Lincoln City to Yachats. A nationally ranked fire services consulting firm has just issued a report on the strengths and weaknesses of a number of fire departments and how, by partially joining forces, residents served by those fire departments can enjoy enhanced services through greater cooperation between departments.
The report takes into account that government budgets are going to remain tight for the foreseeable future, including for fire departments. The report includes an in-depth assessment of a number of fire departments and explores avenues for greater integration of operations involving training, equipment purchases, and specialty emergency response scenarios. The report also explores whether Lincoln County residents might benefit from their fire departments consolidating operations that deal with training, recruiting volunteers and vehicle maintenance. And the report goes even further to suggest that some departments could feasibly combine – literally consolidate – into one department. The report suggests that’s feasible, but not for all departments, and certainly not for a county-wide fire department. At least not for the foreseeable future.
The aim of all this, of course, is to acknowledge the tax constraints and financial limitations on Lincoln County taxpayers and the fire departments they support, while offering the highest level of fire protection services possible.
The big county-wide meeting on all this is coming up Tuesday, June 26th, at the Newport Performing Arts Center in Nye Beach. It starts at 6pm. Fire Departments in attendance will be those from Newport, Waldport, Depoe Bay, Lincoln City, Siletz Valley and Yachats. Residents living in other fire districts are still encouraged to attend because whatever findings and consolidating factors are eventually chosen will definitely affect those not participating in the study one way or another, including Toledo and Seal Rock.