Joint Powers Agreement Between the Sandpoint Fire Dept. & the Sagle Fire Dist. (City of Sandpoint)
Monday, January 4, 2016
Posted by: Gay Dawn Oyler
When the City of Sandpoint found themselves in need of a new fire chief, (the current chief was retiring after 14 years at the helm) they saw it as an opportunity to think outside the box. The Fire District to the South of the City was also in need of a fire chief. Since the City was already actively recruiting for the fire chief’s position through a nationwide search, it only seemed natural to broach the idea with the perspective fire chief candidates.
The City was able to select a candidate who had experience in combining fire departments. Within 60 days an agreement was developed which allowed the Fire Chief of Sandpoint to start serving as the Fire Chief of the Sagle Fire District also. This move saved both communities $50,000.00 each. And by Jan 1, 2015, the departments were consolidated by a Joint Powers Agreement (JPA), combining all aspects of the fire department except finances. The Joint Powers Agreement also allowed the job sharing of the Fire Chief’s assistant which brought an additional savings of $30,000.00 to each department.
The JPA has allowed both fire departments to increase their capabilities and become more efficient in regards to emergency responses, fire prevention, public education and community outreach. The JPA was developed in a way that will allow other organizations to join and participate in the consolidation.
The JPA is managed by a board of commissioners who are represented by two Sandpoint City Council Members, Two Sagle Fire Board Commissioners and a member from the community. The board approves all aspects of the district except finances which are currently kept separate; however, employees and equipment are intermingled.
What occurred between the City of Sandpoint and the Sagle Fire District is a great example of good government at work. Instead of having two separate fire departments operating separately, the community now has a better equipped emergency services delivery system.
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