Waupun Mulling Consolidation Of City, Country Fire

(Waupun) The Waupun Fire Department and nearby townships are looking into the creation of a fire district. In 2017, preliminary research began to explore the benefits of consolidating the city fire department with the country fire departments – which services the townships of Chester, Waupun, and roughly a third of Trenton. Both operations are based out of the city’s fire station.

During Tuesday night’s Waupun Common Council meeting, Fire Chief B.J. DeMaa outlined why consolidating would be a good thing. He says it would help save on rising equipment costs as well as equipment duplication and cost sharing. DeMaa says declining volunteerism is also a big factor with finding qualified persons to fill vacancies becoming an increasing problem.

Preliminary numbers suggest a savings of around $800-thousand dollars on equipment costs if the departments consolidate. The chief says research is still being done on what funding model would best serve the Waupun-area and it is too early to determine exact cost savings.

When asked by the council if Waupun would consider merging with neighboring fire departments, DeMaa says the immediate focus is on Waupun but that could eventually expand outward.

DeMaa says the townships have agreed to form a committee by the end of August to further research a consolidation plan. He says while there is still a lot of work ahead and the schedule can change, the hope is to have an agreement drafted by 2020 with full consolidation – should it happen – by 2021.