City Manager Eric Keck summarized the challenge facing municipal officials in Englewood: “We studied a number of options as to what to do with our fire department that was struggling to keep up with personnel needs as well as capital equipment and facilities. As we looked at our options, we determined that a shared agreement, an intergovernmental agreement with Denver, made the best sense.”
It was a difficult decision for Englewood, which, like most cities and towns, is proud of the role its fire department plays in the community. But Englewood was facing a “pretty dire fiscal cliff” according to Keck. Through Englewood’s agreement with Denver, more service can be obtained at a lower cost. It is a shared service that makes a lot of sense for residents.
Denver Fire Chief Eric Tade said that, when approached by Englewood, the department looked to see what would make sense for both cities. Denver Fire already served areas on three sides of Englewood and had stations near Englewood’s city limits. It became apparent that a more efficient delivery of services could be realized using economies of scale. Combining efforts not only provided efficiencies but reduced response times and an increased amount of resources available for Englewood citizens.
The 20-year agreement sets a base price for services with a three percent annual increase. Denver will provide fire suppression services as well as emergency medical services. Service will be provided at the same level as provided for Denver residents. Englewood retains fire prevention services including code enforcement and issuance of building permits. Most of Englewood’s firefighters transferred into the Denver Fire Department per the agreement and Englewood transferred fire equipment to Denver Fire. Englewood fire stations are leased at no cost to Denver Fire.
As for intergovernmental agreements for fire service, Chief Tade said we are seeing it more and more: “It just makes sense, the less administration you can have and the more operational resources the better level of service you provide citizens.” Keck added “collaboration amongst governments needs to be the way of the future. There’s no way with today’s revenue climate … that they can go it alone.”
Read the IGA or watch a video that, among other shared services, features this agreement.