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Stormy fire consolidation meeting

 City of Delafield - A plan that would more than double the size of the Lake Country Fire and Rescue was outlined tonight during a sometimes stormy meeting of representatives from the six communities that would be served by the department.

The department serves the City of Delafield and the villages of Nashotah and Chenequa. The proposal calls for fire departments from the Town of Delafield, the Village of Hartland, and the City of Oconomowoc to be added into a regional department with a budget of about $4.2 million annually.

About $2.6 million in revenues would be raised through ambulance and emergency medical services billings. The six communities would share in raising an additional $1.6 million for the department.

Representatives for the Village of Chenequa warned that absorbing all three communities at once may be too big of an expansion of the department. The Chenequa officials suggested a more incremental consolidation might be preferable.

Oconomowoc Mayor Jim Daley suggested any proposal that resulted in increased fire protection costs for city could be a "deal breaker." However, he emphasized the city was interested in a consolidation with Lake Country Fire and Rescue.

The initial funding formula, described by some officials as very preliminary, suggests that Oconomowoc fire protection costs would be increased about $76,000 while the City of Delafield would save about $430,000 if the departments were consolidated.

At one point in meeting, Hartland Village President David Lamerand said he was "pissed off" that the Consolidation Committee had not met since September while representatives of Lake Country Fire and Rescue met privately with Oconomowoc officials about a possible consolidation.

Town of Delafield representatives said they were frustrated that a sub committee approved by the Consolidation Committee during the September meeting had never met and instead fire department representatives worked privately on a funding formula for the department.

However, all of the community representatives said they were wiling to continue the discussions and scheduled another meeting for next month.

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