A hot topic at local council meetings this month has been the issue of a 2013 regional fire service study.
The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) is set to adopt its 2013 budget on Wednesday, which will include $40,000 for the proposed study.
“The City of Rossland requested that we take a look at the service to confirm or define ways that we might be able to be more efficient or cost effective,” said John McLean, chief administrative officer for the RDKB.
The proposed 2013 annual operating budget for the regional fire service has increased by almost $300,000 since last year.
In 2012, the budget was $3.6 million and this year will engulf over $3.9 million.
McLean said that although the main impetus for the study is to look at the rising costs over the last few years, the study would also examine all aspects of the fire service, including first responders and the relationship between volunteers and career staff.
“We need to determine if we are doing good service to the community,” said McLean.
“And if there are ways we can improve the service for the amount of money that we are spending each year.”
Mayor of Rossland, Greg Granstrom, said that the goal of the study from the city’s point of view is to make sure that the service does not become so costly that it would be fortuitous for a participant to with draw from the service; leaving Rossland and other communities to absorb the costs.
“I think we have a cadillac fire service,” said Greg Granstrom, mayor of Rossland.
“We need to make sure that we are getting the best bang for our tax bucks.”
Granstrom said that the goal of the study from the city’s point of view is to make sure that the service does not become so costly that it would be fortuitous for a participant to with draw from the service.
As soon as the financial plan is adopted, request for proposals will be advertised, said McLean.
The final report will probably go back to the east end services in the fall for review.
The Kootenay Boundary Fire Rescue (KBFR) is comprised of 14 career fire fighters and 140 paid on-call fire fighters, under the direction of Terry Martin, regional fire chief.
KBFR provides fire protection and prevention services to citizens in Trail, Rossland, Warfield, Montrose, Fruitvale and Areas A & B.