City councils discussing fire department merger

Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — Now that both city councils have been given a detailed plan of the proposed merger between the Dearborn and Melvindale fire departments, it is a matter of waiting for approval.

The comprehensive plan was given to both councils late last month and both cities have been reviewing the details before voting on it.

If approved, the merger would have Melvindale paying Dearborn $1.45 million annually. This money would cover operating costs such as salaries and go into a general fund that would be used for vehicle repairs and replacements. Both cities would share this fund.

Though the plan is a merger, Dearborn would effectively take over the operations for both cities. They would absorb Melvindale firefighters and rent their one fire station.

Both cities are to see an improved service to their communities, reduce costs, eliminate redundant services and have a more efficient staffing model. According to the plan, the move makes geographic sense also based on the current positions of the five stations of the combined departments.

Benefits specific for Melvindale that are mentioned in the plan are an increased response levels for emergencies, the availability of more EMS/Fire vehicles, more rapid Second Due Alarms and full-time divisions for non-suppression services. It would also allow them to eliminate their reliance on assistance from the Allen Park Fire Department.

Benefits for Dearborn include an improvement in response time to all areas in the southern sections of the city, an increase in firefighters that are available daily to 28, an increased availability of EMS rigs and an added confined space rescue team to the department.

Dearborn Fire Chief Joseph Murray said the merger had been discussed for the last couple of years but talks have intensified over the last seven or eight months.

Both of the International Association of Fire Fighters locals in each city, No. 412 in Dearborn and No. 1728 in Melvindale, agreed to the plan several weeks ago.

Dearborn City Council President Thomas Tafelski said a few more logistics of the deal need to be finalized by Dearborn Mayor John O’Reilly in conjunction with his administration and the city of Melvindale before the council can really go through the merger.

Phone calls to Melvindale Mayor Stacy Striz were not returned by press time.