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City could spend nearly $25,000 on an operational staffing study and form a task force going forward

The Dundee City Council met Tuesday night to begin discussing funding an operational staffing study for the Dundee Fire Department.

The contract would be with Emergency Services Consulting International and the $24,851 it would cost would likely come from the city's contingency fund. However, in the council packet, City Administrator Rob Daykin said it is "likely that a portion of the cost will be expended in the next fiscal year's budget."

During a January council meeting, councilors discussed the need to form a task force to evaluate and makes recommendations to ensure fire and rescue services are adequately funded. The council has done this in the past, appointing a task force to review a previous department evaluation prepared by ESCI.

According to the council packet, that study had several short-term and long-term strategies on a number of issues, which the task force reviewed. Councilors decided that before forming a new task force the 2006 study should be updated and they directed Daykin to bring back a new proposal from ESCI. Daykin discussed the project with Fire Chief John Stock and ESCI.

"Given that the facility and equipment issues reviewed in the 2006 study were sufficiently addressed, the main focus of the update is proposed to be staffing levels, both career staff and volunteers, to meet current and projected service demands," Daykin said in the packet. "The update will provide recommended strategies to meet the desired levels of service efficiently."

The packet states ESCI's proposal "will provide a future task force a comprehensive analysis of the Dundee Fire Department's staffing needs, including functions and levels of staffing, recommendations to improve levels of service and participation by volunteers, and costs of recommended long-term strategies."

According to the proposal, ESCI understands that Dundee Fire and Rescue has had continued challenges in career and volunteer staffing, and recruitment is necessary to meet growing service needs. Their project had three phases: project initiation; evaluation of current conditions; staffing options and recommended strategies; development, review and delivery of report.

According to their proposal, ESCI will develop recommended short-term staffing options to improve the department's service level. The ideas may include: possibly adding part- or full-time career staff where necessary; making necessary adjustments in the level of volunteer staffing; options for compensating volunteers; options for volunteer staffing schedule; methods for retaining existing volunteer staff.

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