DALLAS — The city of Dallas will no longer be part of a coalition of fire agencies exploring consolidation.
The coalition consists of West Valley, Sheridan, and Southwest Polk fire districts and the city of Dallas. The three fire districts have approved an agreement to consolidate operations and may form a district in the future. The city hasn’t joined the agreement.
The Dallas City Council voted on Nov. 18 to have city staff draft a repeal of the resolution the council approved that had the city participating in the coalition. Councilor Terry Crawford made the motion.
“My attitude about it is that we are just spinning our wheels,” Crawford said. “I think the benefit to the citizens of Dallas is to simply look at our own fire department. If they form a district, I don’t think that precludes us if we want to. I just have never seen any real need or benefit to the citizens of Dallas.”
Councilor Ken Woods Jr. asked city manager Brian Latta to outline the advantages or disadvantages of participating in the coalition.
“The advantages of being part of the group is that staff stays very connected to the conversations that are taking place,” Latta said. “Chief (Todd) Brumfield, and myself, at times, would be able to attend the meetings. We would have our council representation. Right now, we have Councilor (Jennie) Rummell and Councilor (Paul) Trahan attending those meetings as well, so you are just very connected to what they are doing.”
He said the advantage of not participating is having the sole priority be on the city’s fire department.
“We can really focus on what we need to do insular to ourselves with our own department and resolving the needs that we have in our own house,” Latta said. “We can focus a little bit more attention to that.”
Brumfield said he’s attended all but one of the coalition meetings and all but one of the joint West Valley, Sheridan and Southwest Polk board meetings. He said, at this point, the coalition lacks a solid plan that shows benefit to Dallas citizens
“I’ve failed to see anything produced out of that group that shows us a plan of action or anything that would show forward momentum to highlight how their plan is going to work,” Brumfield said. “Not only for themselves, but for the city of Dallas.”
He said the district board is dealing with financial issues the individual agencies are experiencing.
“Lastly, I think throughout this whole process, from my perspective, I haven’t seen anything from any of the agencies or the coalition that would show how they would solve the problems for the city of Dallas,” Brumfield said.
He said he hasn’t seen any information or plans to provide the city with more staffing or solutions for overnight housing for firefighters to provide 24-hour paid coverage.
The motion passed 6-1. City attorney Lane Shetterly will write a resolution withdrawing the city from the coalition for approval at a future meeting.