City leaders take a closer look at emergency service merger - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

City leaders take a closer look at emergency service merger

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WAUSAU (WAOW) -

Leaders in the Wausau area are taking a closer look at consolidating their fire departments.

At a meeting Thursday, they learned about what it could mean and how much money they could save.

The fire and emergency services in the Wausau area could be merged in the near future.

"I hope people's eyes will be opened to say that we probably could do a little bit better working together and hopefully save some costs," said Jim Tipple, Wausau Mayor.

Wausau Mayor Jim Tipple said the idea of consolidating services sparked from discussions about replacing Wausau's west side fire station.

"Look for some synergies within our communities and how we could potentially save some money by sharing services," said Tipple.

During a presentation, consultants talked about current service demand, fire station locations and response times.

They also looked to the future, projecting things like growth and an aging population.

The discussion didn't bring any opposition.

Rib Mountain administrators said it's a good thing to consider.

Others agreed.

"I think it shows that the Village of Weston and Town of Rib Mountain are headed in the right direction and also it is a small step for us and we're always open to other avenues," said Loren White, Village of Weston President.

Consultants said there's room for improvement in training, sharing resources and buying emergency equipment.

"We probably could save some initial dollars right off the bat with training and they would get everybody up to the same level," said Tipple.

But consultants said the savings won't huge.

"If you can improve response time just by working together, whether there's any cost savings or not, that makes a whole lot of sense," said Tipple.

Though no decisions were made, Mayor Tipple hopes this presentation can lead to a shared effort soon.

No further action was planned at the meeting.

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