Discuss Detroit Archives - Beginning January 2006 Should Hamtramck and Detroit privatize their fire companies? Previous Next
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Livernoisyard
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Username: Livernoisyard

Post Number: 186
Registered: 10-2004
Posted From: 69.242.223.42
Posted on Tuesday, February 28, 2006 - 8:27 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hamtramck, which emerged from state takeover last week, is contemplating privatizing its fire service. Why doesn't Detroit attempt to solve one of its costliest problems and consider a meaningful alternative?


Fire Protection Privatization: A CostEffective Approach to Public Safety [1992 study]
"Unprecedented fiscal pressures have been the major factor responsible for motivating local officials to search for alternative ways of providing public services more efficiently. An Annual National League of Cities survey found that one in four city governments is facing a budget gap of more than five percent, and that seven out of ten cities are today less able to meet their financial needs than a year ago. According to the NLC report, based on budget data from 525 cities of all sizes, "smaller cities and towns are particularly vulnerable to severe budget imbalances of more than five percent."

The serious budget shortfalls facing many local governments can be traced to increased (often federally mandated) responsibilities, diminishing state and federal assistance, general rising costs of municipal services, and finally, a reluctance on the part of local citizens to support higher taxes. In this fiscally constrained climate, the increased experience with competitive contracting is making the concept more accessible and demonstrating its value as an effective budget tool.

In a 1988 report summarizing survey results on alternative service delivery approaches used by local governments, ICMA observed that "Delivery of public services by resources other than local government employees is no longer a fad." It is also no longer an approach used exclusively by conservative Republicans. In Chicago, for example, Democratic Mayor Richard Daley is championing that city's aggressive program of contracting out for services. When Sharon Pratt Dixon, the new mayor of Washington, D.C., asked Daley for his advice, his reply was "to privatize everything you can." The recently elected Democratic mayor of Philadelphia, Edward Rendell, campaigned on the merits of privatization. Private toll roads were promoted in California by Republican Gov. George Deukmejian and defended in Virginia by Democratic Gov. Douglas Wilder."

(Message edited by livernoisyard on February 28, 2006)
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Romanized
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Username: Romanized

Post Number: 196
Registered: 02-2005
Posted From: 71.4.97.70
Posted on Tuesday, February 28, 2006 - 8:57 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Do it. This is what Detroit needs. Chicago and other cities are figuring it out. My guess is that if folks want to pitch a fit over the control of a zoo, we will never take a step like this.
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Zulu_warrior
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Username: Zulu_warrior

Post Number: 2551
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 68.251.27.41
Posted on Tuesday, February 28, 2006 - 10:27 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

This is again the invesre of what needs to happen.

Detroit needs to absorb Highland Park and Hamtramack and several other smaller cities
and form a Regional Fire Authroity.

This of course would mean sharing the tax burden.

This effort is underway in Oakland County, soon it will happen in Wayne County.

LAFD serves all of LA County, and the burden is shared by allin th e county.

Detroit has the finest Fire department in the state, bar none.

While you might quible over girbles in a zoo, this a whole other matter. Fire protection and the ancillary sciences that accompany it are much more relevant.
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1953
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Username: 1953

Post Number: 705
Registered: 12-2004
Posted From: 209.104.146.146
Posted on Tuesday, February 28, 2006 - 10:59 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Privatization has many positives, but the downsides are increasingly recognized by political scientists. Every dollar saved in operating costs is spent in monitoring and oversight.

(Message edited by 1953 on February 28, 2006)
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Livernoisyard
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Username: Livernoisyard

Post Number: 194
Registered: 10-2004
Posted From: 69.242.223.42
Posted on Tuesday, February 28, 2006 - 11:03 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Political science = first-class oxymoron
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1953
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Username: 1953

Post Number: 706
Registered: 12-2004
Posted From: 209.104.146.146
Posted on Tuesday, February 28, 2006 - 11:13 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Yeah, ok.

My mistake.
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Oldredfordette
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Username: Oldredfordette

Post Number: 514
Registered: 02-2004
Posted From: 68.61.98.175
Posted on Tuesday, February 28, 2006 - 11:14 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

What a great idea. Let's pay more, get less services and still tax the shit out of the citizenry.
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Mthouston
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Username: Mthouston

Post Number: 40
Registered: 01-2006
Posted From: 63.77.247.130
Posted on Tuesday, February 28, 2006 - 11:18 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Sounds like a job for Halliburton.
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Romanized
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Username: Romanized

Post Number: 197
Registered: 02-2005
Posted From: 71.4.97.70
Posted on Tuesday, February 28, 2006 - 2:12 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Don't be foolish. Many newer large cities already do this. And much better run cities like Philly and Chicago are pushing for it. You should get sarcastic about how the public services around here are run like crap.
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Livernoisyard
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Username: Livernoisyard

Post Number: 204
Registered: 10-2004
Posted From: 69.242.223.42
Posted on Tuesday, February 28, 2006 - 2:17 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Chicago had the nerve about 20/25 years ago to demand that their eighth graders achieve a 5th grade reading level before being allowed into their high schools.

Just try enforcing this in Detroit. Its high schools might be nearly empty, and its middle schools would be housing 22-yearolds.
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Hamtramck_steve
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Username: Hamtramck_steve

Post Number: 2773
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 136.181.195.65
Posted on Tuesday, February 28, 2006 - 2:25 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Last time I read anything about Chicago schools, they still suck.

As for private fire services, fuck no. The corrections needed for fire service are never about the fire service itself, but all of the other services that are deemed "more important" by municipal leaders. Giving the fire department to a private company won't automatically fix what needs fixing.

Forming a multi-city or regional fire service? Why not. There is no documented need for each podunk "city" in this state to pay for a fire chief.

All I ask is that any legislation that mandates such consolidation be just and apply equally to all areas of the state. Otherwise, make it possible for cities to do it voluntarily and let the residents deal with their local leaders.
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Jdmdetroit
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Username: Jdmdetroit

Post Number: 148
Registered: 11-2003
Posted From: 170.20.11.116
Posted on Tuesday, February 28, 2006 - 2:56 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Zulu has a good point.

Many services new done by local municipalities should be handled on a county-wide basis. I actually like the idea of turning all of Wayne County into a sort of super-municipality down the road.
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Lmichigan
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Username: Lmichigan

Post Number: 3259
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 67.172.95.197
Posted on Tuesday, February 28, 2006 - 3:01 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Zulu hit it right on the head. There simply needs to be a regional authority like in so many other areas. This will never happen considering how incredibly entrenched "home rule" here is in Michigan.

Places like Las Vegas have regional police and fire departments, and it works just fine.
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Ray1936
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Username: Ray1936

Post Number: 329
Registered: 01-2005
Posted From: 207.200.116.139
Posted on Tuesday, February 28, 2006 - 11:58 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The Las Vegas Police Department and the Clark County Sheriff's Department merged completely in 1972 to form the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. The department serves the entire county except for the City of Henderson and the City of North Las Vegas, which still have their own police departments.

The area served by the 2,500 member Metro PD is just under 8,000 square miles.

Detroit has about 3,800 police officers to serve 139 square miles.

Go figure.
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Lmichigan
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Username: Lmichigan

Post Number: 3265
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 67.172.95.197
Posted on Wednesday, March 01, 2006 - 12:04 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I'm confused, were you trying to make a point? What is it; it totally flew over my head, I think.

(Message edited by lmichigan on February 28, 2006)
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Ray1936
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Username: Ray1936

Post Number: 330
Registered: 01-2005
Posted From: 207.200.116.139
Posted on Wednesday, March 01, 2006 - 1:04 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Naw, just a statement of fact. Anyway, most of that 8000 square miles is just open desert.
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Hamtramike
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Username: Hamtramike

Post Number: 454
Registered: 12-2003
Posted From: 4.229.156.242
Posted on Wednesday, March 01, 2006 - 1:18 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I wouldn't mind having DFD and HFD working together (merging), but but there's no way in hell i want to deal with detroit dispatch for any incident involving the police. Sorry, but i like when the police actually show up within the hour for incidents not involving a firearm.
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Lmichigan
Member
Username: Lmichigan

Post Number: 3266
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 67.172.95.197
Posted on Wednesday, March 01, 2006 - 1:33 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Yeah, a huge amount of that is desert. The Las Vegas Valley is 600 square miles, and not even all of that is filled (I'd say 3/4 maybe) with a million people are so.

It works so well there, though, because of the strong regional cooperation. The place has to cooperate seeing as how how the Strip lies on township/county land. For the rest of the communities (including the City of Las Vegas) to reap the benefits of the Strip, they must cooperate with Clark County government.

This won't work in Detroit because of the home rule, and all of the cities and suburbs are already strongly established. Regional governments only work where the suburbs are weak (usually where they are uncoorperated), and the suburbs needs the central city to do very well for them to do well. That is not the case in most Michigan cities, especially.
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Hamtramike
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Username: Hamtramike

Post Number: 455
Registered: 12-2003
Posted From: 4.229.81.47
Posted on Wednesday, March 01, 2006 - 9:12 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

THe study only provides data for small communities and areas that have regional cooperation. I am just not sure I am willing to be the test city to see how well this works in an urban environment.

Further, I'm all for privatization in city services, but there are a couple of concerns with that study.

"Costly firefighting and emergency apparatus that is needed only occasionally in any one jurisdiction might be shared among several service areas."

So when do we decide equipment is needed in an area? When the emergency occurs? If fire doubles every 6 seconds (?), I have a problem with waiting for equipment that may only be an extra few minutes away.

The significant savings is interesting, but again, just not sure i want to be the test case just yet. I wou;d also have less of a problem with merging departments or cooperation across city/county boundaries for many services.
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Danny
Member
Username: Danny

Post Number: 3757
Registered: 02-2004
Posted From: 141.217.174.223
Posted on Wednesday, March 01, 2006 - 9:28 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Should Detroit and Hamtramck FD be privatized? HELL NO!!!
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Barnesfoto
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Username: Barnesfoto

Post Number: 1729
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 66.2.148.27
Posted on Wednesday, March 01, 2006 - 9:37 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

as zulu said, quibble over the zoo, but don't mess with the DFD. If there was some merging, that would be fine, as some of the suburban deparments seem to have a lower ration of fires, (while Detroit seems to be having regular megafires). DFD is one of the few city departments that we can depend on. They are however, increasingly strained, and there have been cases of no fire trucks available in a timely manner.(This from my neighbor, a DFD employee.)
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Zulu_warrior
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Username: Zulu_warrior

Post Number: 2557
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 68.251.27.41
Posted on Wednesday, March 01, 2006 - 9:49 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

http://www.dailytribune.com/st ories/110804/loc_firepact08001 .shtml

Fire pact idea gains support

By Christy Strawser

Daily Tribune Staff Writer

PUBLISHED: November 8, 2004

ROYAL OAK TWP. The picture is bleak in Oakland County's poorest community after voters and a legal agreement annexed the township's entire north end to neighboring Oak Park.
Royal Oak Township has operated in the red for decades, run up deficits, fended off lawsuits from employees and tried to recover from scandals that preceded giving up its own police department and handing over patrol duties to the county.

But some say they see a way out.

The solution involves making the township one of the few in Oakland County to use regionalized fire service.

William Morgan, Royal Oak Township's new supervisor, met with county officials on Friday to discuss the fire situation that has the township paying $700,000 a year for employees and equipment. Their budget is $350,000.

The township had 11 fires last year, according to the Oakland County Sheriff's Department.

And the staff isn't licensed for medical emergencies, so the township pays an EMS contractor for ambulance duty.

"I'm sure that they'll enlighten me to whatever is the best economical way," said Morgan, a former Wayne County Sheriff's deputy who takes office Nov. 22. "They (the county) talked to me about it. From what they say, it's something the current administration will suggest to me. It sounds pretty good from what they say."

Regionalization is a hot issue as more south Oakland cities try to cut their budgets. The size of fire departments is in the spotlight after Royal Oak voters over the strong objections of city officials added a minimum fire department staffing level to its city charter.

Royal Oak leaders say they can't afford the number of firefighters they're now forced to employ.

In Royal Oak Township, paying $700,000 a year for a staff of part-timers is absurd, say some county officials and neighboring community leaders who urge the township to give up its own firefighters and contract with Ferndale.

If it happens, the township could save $300,000-$400,000 a year.

Pleasant Ridge, the same size as the township, is the only local community that contracts out services. It pays Ferndale $360,000 a year for fire service.

"We have discussed this with the Pleasant Ridge Fire Committee and they see no problem with discussing adding the township to this compact," said Ferndale City Manager Tom Barwin. "I've also discussed it with some of our fire staff and they think it will be doable."

Regionalization paved the way for Pleasant Ridge and Huntington Woods to save thousands by farming out police dispatch services to Berkley Public Safety. Berkley and Royal Oak save cash by sharing one animal control officer.

The township's fire department responds to roughly 120 calls for service a year.

"They're paying all these firemen to sit around waiting for the big one to come in," a county official said. "That's what's killing this little community."

The township pays $800,000 a year to contract its police service to Oakland County and the agreement seems to be amicable after a bump in the road when the county sued the township for nonpayment. They settled the case.

Barwin said Ferndale could easily handle fire needs in the township. Ferndale has 31 firefighters, two fire halls and handled 35 structural fires last year.

"We have been having on- again, off-again conversations with the township about this," Barwin said. "There needs to be the political will to do it in both communities and, as far as Ferndale is concerned, we have a standing offer to sit down and negotiate and explore the concept. Hopefully, it could be a win-win situation."

The township lost a large amount of its tax base during the past year and capped it off with a November agreement with Oak Park that allows the city to absorb nearly all township property north of 10 Mile and east of Greenfield.

Royal Oak Township once had two distinct sections: the north side, which is now Oak Park, and a south side along Eight Mile Road, between Mitchelldale and Scotia.

Only the south segment remains, the rest belongs to Oak Park. That leaves the township with about 4,000 residents.

"A hang-up was the north end," Barwin said. "We had always been willing to talk about the south part of the township, it's about half-mile square and it's right near a fire house, but the north was a problem. Now that they no longer have the north end, it makes a much clearer picture as far as the actual service needs."

The agreement both communities reached lets the township keep 2 mills of taxes on the property annexed to Oak Park, which equals about $40,000 a year.

Royal Oak Township levies 41 mills compared to Oak Park's 24 mills and because the township's tax rate is so high, it will lose roughly $800,000 in tax money it used to collect just on the latest round of property lost.

The township also lost 20 percent of its tax base in August and in November 2003 when voters in Oak Park and the township overwhelmingly approved annexing five commercial apartment and office buildings.

The vote came after residents in the apartments and business owners complained about high taxes and lack of services in Royal Oak Township.

Contact Christy Strawser at christy.strawser@dailytribune. com or 248-591-2569

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