County and city dispute over calls for fires outside city limits
The City Of Laredo is looking to re-negotiate an inter-local agreement on paying firefighters to respond to County calls.
Fire Chief Steve Landin says responding to County calls has created a problem in their department.
The Laredo Fire Department runs on a 36 million dollar budget, and gets an additional six hundred thousand dollars to respond to calls out in the County.
This is something that the City Manager and the Fire Chief say is pocket change, " In my eyes they are getting a good deal for the amount of services that we provide. However we are at a crossroads."
Those issues include responding to calls outside of City limits.
Fire Chief Steve Landin says it creates voids and delays response times.
"My primary responsibility as chief is to protect the citizens of Laredo and that is what we are here to do."
The department receives four hundred calls a year for the County. Only forty of them are structure fire related. The rest are brush fire calls.
City Council is looking at re-negotiate with the County to exclude responding calls to brush fires.
"By the time we respond, the time they come back and we act to that brush fire. it will be a couple of hours, maybe two or three hours, leaving some of the areas in Laredo exposed."
The fire chief also says in past years they have seen an increase of wear-and-tear on their equipment when responding to grass fires or calls out in the County, seeking an additional contract with the County to respond to brush fires.
The City and the County will meet sometime Thursday to re negotiate the contract. City Council is recommending the fire department respond to just EMS and structure fires in the County.
If the County does not agree to this proposal and to pay extra for response to brush fires, then they will void the contract.
The City Manager says the County would then have to get a fire department.