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County, City Consider Consolidation of Services |

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County, City Consider Consolidation of Services

LAS VEGAS -- Clark County and the City of Las Vegas could save millions of dollars with a plan to consolidate some public services. But, the idea of merging fire departments is not sitting well with everyone, including some unions.

Both the City of Las Vegas and Clark County are facing budget deficits and are looking for ways to save money. "The economic situation that is facing our citizens is devastating," Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak said. "We are in an unprecedented time economically." "We are definitely talking about how we can make the taxpayers' dollars go further," Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman adds.

One option they are considering would be to combine some firefighter services. "(We're looking at) whether the city or the county does something better than the other and if we can have less duplication," Mayor Goodman said. "We are interested in public safety, and it crosses jurisdictional lines," Commissioner Sisolak added.

But, not everyone is entirely on board. Union leaders say they support the idea if it is done correctly. "The devil is in the details. How is it going to be done," Professional Firefighters of Nevada President Rusty McAllister asked. "Do it wisely. Don't jump into something that is not well thought out."

McAllister believes, so far, that has not happened. "Up to this point, the experts who do this job day in and day out weren't consulted," he said.

City and county leaders say not all services would be merged. They would only merge services that are currently handled by both county and city fire departments, such as heavy rescues and hazardous material calls. Public officials say the proposal would not compromise the quality of services. "We are doing everything we can to maintain services, to maintain and improve efficiency and response times," Sisolak said.

The union says if the right changes aren't made, services and response time could be affected. "As an example, (if you take) the technical rescue team out of Clark County and put it in the city, there's not going to be a delay to get to certain places? Absolutely, there will be," McAllister said.

County and city managers are still looking into the matter. The proposal is in its preliminary stages.

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