August 24, 2006
Right now, Charlottesville City Fire, Albemarle County Fire and the Charlottesville Albemarle Rescue Squad work together daily but are separately run. That fact may be changing.
"I think the City and the County and CARS and the rest of the volunteer organizations out there work well together and we want to continue that support and really look at taking it to the next level," said Albemarle County Fire Chief Dan Eggleston.
That next level could mean the total or partial consolidation of the squads. To help that process along, the groups have hired a consulting firm, the Matrix Group based out of Herndon, to take an objective look at the possibility.
"Our goal is to look at efficiency issues with consolidation but also effectiveness issues and try to come up with a solution that would work here," said Bill Gay of the Matrix Group.
"We have found a great study consultant that will help us take an objective look at ourselves and in the end create opportunities of how we many improve ourselves individually and collectively," said Charlottesville City Fire Chief Charles Werner.
Everyone involved says that better and more efficient service is always the main goal.
"When you are in the community of Charlottesville-Albemarle, that when you call for help, help comes, it comes quickly and you are served in the way you expect," Werner said.
"I am very encouraged. I think everyone has an open mind going into this process and I think we will have a good outcome," said Eggleston.
The Matrix Group plans to examine all three squads and make an initial report in mid November. From there, officials with all three departments will decide what, if any, changes will be made.
The total cost of the consolidation study is $80,000. Charlottesville and Albemarle will split the cost evenly.