Study says consolidation of fire departments in Ramapo would be beneficial

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RAMAPO – An independent
consultant’s study into the possible consolidation of several fire
districts in the Town of Ramapo found it would be beneficial to the taxpayers
and firefighters.
The study was funded by $45,000 in state funds targeted for studies of local government consolidations. Ramapo Councilman Daniel Friedman sought the grant that paid for the study conducted by the CGR consulting firm.
Friedman’s proposal would consolidate the Park Crest Fire Protection District, the West Spring Valley Fire District, Spring Valley Fire District #1, and the area of the Village of Spring Valley into one cohesive fire district that would operate independently. Currently districts in the unincorporated areas of Ramapo contract with the Village of Spring Valley for fire protection with the Spring Valley Fire Department.
 “CGR’s analysis suggests that decentralized funding and oversight of fire services in this region may be contributing to a pattern of underinvestment,” Friedman said. “Moreover, geographic redundancy is driving cost higher than necessary.”
He said the village, Ramapo and the three fire districts could work together to form a single joint fire district that would provide services to the community.
 “This new joint fire district has the potential to improve the quality of the equipment and response to the community through dedicated funding and enhanced operations,” the report said.  “Operational efficiencies could reduce overall cost or allow for appropriate investment in fire department resources.”
The plan would remove control of fire protection from the Village of Spring Valley, and would place it in the hands of a new elected board of commissioners. Friedman said the plan does not interfere with the vital mission of firefighters, and would result in better funding for fire protection.
Jeff Streim, a former chief of the Spring Valley Fire Department and fire commissioner for the West Spring Valley Fire District, which would be dissolved under the plan, said if the fie consolidation plan is approved, “it will resolve long-standing issues and will help better protect our firefighters and residents.”