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  • Plymouth, Northville look to continue sharing fire department
    Posted On: Mar 82, 2023

    Northville and Plymouth officials have separately agreed to move forward with a study that could lead to a new long-term agreement to keep in place the cities' combined fire department.

    Both the Northville City Council and Plymouth City Commission conducted meetings March 6 and approved moving forward with a study to evaluate the combined fire department they currently share, and which has been in existence since 2012. That study, to be conducted The Center for Public Safety Management, based in Washington, D.C., will review the arrangement and could lead to a new 12-year agreement.

    "As a part of the contract renewal, we felt it was rather ... helpful for the long-term health of that organization to have an outside look," said Paul Sincock, Plymouth's city manager, during the March 6 commission meeting.

    The study is expected to cost $23,760, plus travel costs, an expenditure the cities will split.

    The two elected bodies appeared interested in keeping the current arrangement, which has fire stations in both Plymouth and Northville. For its emergency medical technician services, Plymouth utilizes Huron Valley Ambulance, which responds to calls in the city.

    Northville's 2022-23 proposed budget for the fire department was about $1.15 million while Plymouth's proposed 2022-23 budget showed about $1.2 million in expenditures for the fire department. The department is headed by Chief Matthew Samhat and has two captains, six lieutenants and 55 total staff.

    Mark Wollenweber, Northville's former interim city manager, said he had spoken to Sincock and both cities expressed an interest in retaining the current level of service. The two discussed a survey that could review other practices at similar fire departments across the country and potentially bring new ideas, Wollenweber said.

    "Paul and I thought sharing the cost of the new survey, an outside consultant to tell us what's in the works around the country for these kinds of joint fire departments that are paid on-call ... an analysis of our statistics to determine are we doing our best work," he said. "We're talking about what's the latest and greatest that we might want to add."

    The agreement is expected to come back before both bodies later this spring.

    "I'm fully supportive of moving forward on this," Northville Mayor Pro-Tem Barbara Moroski-Browne said. "I think having an independent look is always good."

    Plymouth City Commissioner Marques Thomey said despite differences between the cities, having more information on such an agreement is important.

    "We know from our other attempts, the cultures are a bit different. And the fact that we might not be able to bridge all of those cultural shifts is just part of reality," he said. "But having data, which this report will give us, it allows us to take what we've done before, what we're doing now and look at how we can make things better."

    Contact reporter David Veselenak at dveselenak@hometownlife.com or 734-678-6728. Follow him on Twitter @davidveselenak.

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