By BRIAN SMITH
After months of deliberation between the Weatherford Fire Department and the Emergency Services District No. 3, both sides appear ready to enter into an interlocal joint working agreement.
Weatherford city council members will have a work session tonight to listen to Weatherford Fire Chief Paul Rust discuss the terms of the agreement. Under the proposal, the city is expected to close Fire Station No. 2 near Lake Weatherford and move fire department equipment into the current ESD No. 3 building off Oak Ridge Drive in Hudson Oaks.
According to a staff report, under the proposed interlocal agreement, Weatherford Fire Department firefighters would use ESD No. 3 vehicles, equipment and facilities. The City of Weatherford would hire ESD No. 3’s six paid firefighters.
Approval of the agreement would require an increase to the city’s fire department budget of approximately $200,000. Approval of the agreement will increase the city’s revenue in the amount of $200,000 paid by ESD No. 3. Therefore, the financial impact for the City of Weatherford is expected to be cost neutral.
During prior discussion, Rust said the agreement allows the department to get out of a building that is not a proper fire station and increase response times to fires based on higher speed limits along U.S. Highway 180 which the ESD No. 3 station is located near.
The council is also expected to consider entering into an interlocal agreement with the Weatherford Public Library and the Boyce Ditto Public Library in Mineral Wells to provide integrated library system hosting.
The current ILS system and software used by Weatherford has far more capacity than is being used, according to a staff report. Mineral Wells library officials had expressed an interest in working with Weatherford a couple of years ago and were approved by the Weatherford library board to begin moving data this fiscal year.