Proposal would restructure Lillian, CTP fire stations
A proposal for restructuring of fire operations at two stations and related engine companies would improve efficiency, Emergency Service District Executive Director Burney Baskett says.
"This will allow us to cut down a level of bureaucracy and operate as one fire department, which we are," Baskett said.
The proposal calls for a merger of operational management of Stations 82 and 83. Station 82 responds within the Lillian fire district bordered by Alvarado, Briaroaks, Mansfield, Rendon and Venus. Station 83 responds along a Chisholm Trail Parkway district bordered by Burleson, Godley and Joshua.
"We presently operate as if we have three separate fire departments – two stations and the paid crews," Baskett said.
But state law stipulates departments under the ownership and operation of the ESD are in fact a single operation of the ESD, he said.
There are a number of advantages to restructuring, Baskett said.
ESD commissioners will be asked to support the proposal when they meet at 7 p.m. Thursday at 2451 Service Drive in Cleburne.
One difference between the stations and a department like Briaroaks is contracting. Because the two stations are in fact an operation of the ESD, the ESD is unable to contract for service with itself, Baskett said.
Funding is allocated to the stations, but that causes another issue. Typically, the stations expend no more than $75,000 of a $100,000 allocation. In an operation like Briaroaks, the unspent funding would remain with the department. In the case of Stations 82 and 83, the unspent funding returns to an ESD reserve account.
"The board agreed to earmark these funds," Baskett said. "The funds can then be allocated by board vote to the stations, but all funding requests must go through the board."
The result is overstatement of assets and revenues, Baskett wrote in a report to the board. At the close of the financial year, an auditor is required to reconcile accounts to reflect true expenditures, he wrote.
The proposal will conserve and reduce needed supplies and equipment, and develop a capital replacement program. It suggests an elimination of two part-time paid fire chiefs and replaces those positions with a "volunteer coordinator" working with an operations manager to certify ESD volunteers.
The proposal improves efficiency by assigning the two engine companies each permanently to one station and no longer have them respond to calls across districts without request. That will save on "wear and tear," Baskett said, and the total result could be $50,000 in annual budget savings.
He's not opposed to later revisiting the naming conventions for the stations.
"One is in Lillian, and the other along the Chisholm Trail," Baskett said, agreeing perhaps they should just be ESD Station 1 and 2.