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Rock Hill Decides Not To Join Cities In Joint Fire Command

Plan would cost city extra $100,000 a year

September 01, 2017
Citing fiscal conservatism, the Rock Hill Board of Aldermen on Aug. 15 decided to opt out of the joint fire command, at least for now.

Clayton and Maplewood approached Oregon-based consultant Emergency Services Consulting International in 2011 to do a study and see if a consolidation would work.

The study showed that having one fire chief directing fire operations would be more efficient. The main office would include two assistant fire chiefs, and the participating cities would have deputy chiefs at the helm.

They then brought in Brentwood, Rock Hill and Glendale to do a second study. Glendale dropped out, but Richmond Heights joined the other cities, which then did a third study that said a joint fire command would provide efficiencies within the fire departments, according to an Aug. 15, 2016, Webster-Kirkwood Times story.

At that time, Rock Hill City Administrator Jennifer Yackley said that in being part of the consolidation, the cities would have someone making sure everyone's training is up to date, having someone work on logistics, and someone making sure that the equipment and trucks are maintained properly.

All the cities would still have their own firehouses and trucks, but that "the management would be more efficient," she said in the 2016 article.

In deciding to leave the group, Rock Hill Mayor Edward Mahan said while the city has "stepped out, we are not totally out of it.

"Financially, we couldn't do what we needed to do for the city and join joint command," he said. "We already have mutual aid, and we support joint command, but financially, it's just not the right time."

The plan would have cost the city $175,000 a year $100,000 more than what the city pays its fire department now.

"The city was almost in financial ruin 10 years ago," Mahan said. "And to come to where we are today, the city has made great strides, to be fiscally responsible."

One of the areas that would have been affected was raising the salaries of its 33 employees.

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