Mesa County fire chiefs fight fires while fighting lower budgets, and they're asking for the public’s help to do it.
Thursday, multiple fire departments visited the Grand Junction Farmers Market to ask the community to fill out a two-page survey on their opinion of their department’s services.
"The survey is part of a larger Mesa County fire services study that all of the fire departments in Mesa County are involved in," said Ken Watkins, the fire chief for the City of Grand Junction.
That study is conducted by an independent consultant, who will look at how department partnerships can make services in the valley more efficient.
"We're trying not to duplicate services. We're trying to find out where we are deficient in services so that we can address those," said Frank Cavaliere, the fire chief for the Lower Valley Fire Department.
They hope to discover ways to work together.
"It could be as simple as more joint training together, joint purchasing, where if we're going to buy hose, we all buy hose together so we save some cost that way," said Watkins.
For smaller departments like Palisade and Lower Valley that depend on volunteers, partnerships could supplement some personnel.
"It would also help out, like I said, with staffing. If we're short, we will have mutual aid or automatic aid responses with other agencies," said Cavaliere.
All options will be considered in the study.
"All the way up to possibly the consolidation of departments into what would be a fire authority, which has happened quite a bit across the state of Colorado," Watkins said.
That fire authority would include stations across the Grand Valley.
"When you're an individual, it will cost you more. You have duplicated services. You have duplicated lawyers and accountants and all your fees for special districts," said Palisade Fire Chief Richard Rupp.
So they're hoping to cut costs in a tough economy.
"Property taxes are declining, so that's going to be less revenue for all of the fire districts in the area that are mill levy supported," Rupp said.
The fire chiefs say they want to incorporate good ideas from the public.
"This is a community project that we're doing so we want to have input from both us out to the community but the community giving back to us," said Cavaliere.
You can fill out the survey online at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/MesaCounty
The Mesa County Fire chief's association will hold three public meetings on the study on the following days:
Tuesday, July 24, 2012; 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Palisade Community Center
120 W. 8th Street, downstairs
Tuesday, August 21, 2012; 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Clifton Fire Station
3254 F Road
Tuesday, September 18, 2012; 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Grand Junction City Hall Auditorium
250 N. 5th Street
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