The Greendale Board of Trustees once again tabled approving a resolution to contribute $1,500 toward a study to review the potential consolidation of fire, emergency medical, and police and fire dispatch services with other southern Milwaukee County communities.
They will, however, continue to be cooperative with the study.
At the Oct. 18th board meeting, Trustee Jim Birmingham presented an idea to the board, in which the resolution would be tabled, but allow Village staff to continue discussion with the other communities and have $1,500 readily available for use of the study.
The board and staff all mostly have said they are against consolidation, but want to continue being cooperative by attending discussions, providing data and the $1,500.
Originally Village Manager Todd Michaels was attending the discussions with the other communities that include Greenfield, Oak Creek, Franklin and Hales Corner. Michaels said he felt uncomfortable with the way the mayors of Greenfield, Oak Creek and Franklin were leading the discussion. Village President John Hermes, Fire Chief Tim Saidler and Michaels will all be attending future discussions.
Michaels also said originally Greenfield, Franklin and Oak Creek would pay for the full amount of the study, but since Greendale is so “weary” of this, Michaels arranged to have the amount split between the communities so there would be a fair say between them all.
Many have expressed concern about the loss of services and efficiency if consolidation were to ever happen.
“I’ve said in the past that of the other communities that are discussing this we are probably the best and have the most to lose in any discussion of consolidating because the other communities aren’t as financially sound and efficient as we are,” said Hermes.
Michaels expressed a major concern of loss of control over the services as well.
“We will be losing the ability to tell the chief we want to get response time down by two minutes,” Michaels said.
As an example he said right now the board, if it wished, could provide whatever is necessary to the chief to get response time down. If consolidation were to happen the other agencies would need to agree to such a request.
Trustee Sally Chadwick asked what would happen to the current Greendale firefighters and fire chief with consolidation.
“If this is a fact-finding thing I better see a list of the positives not only for our community, but for our firefighters too,” Chadwick said.
It doesn’t seem likely Greendale would ever agree to consolidation unless two things happen, according to Hermes.
“Number one is it must improve the current services enjoyed by our residents…Number two, it must save us money at the same time,” Hermes said. “I don’t think any of the things that have come forward yet in the discussions meet those goals and I don’t think they will meet those goals, but in the spirit of cooperation I think we have to look at this and be participatory and be viewed as participatory and cooperative.”
Chadwick expressed her expectations of the discussions that will be taking place with the other communities.
“I expect John, Todd and you (Chief Saidler) to be out there fighting saying ‘Wait minute. What good does that do for Greendale?’” Chadwick said.