The City of Lacombe has signed a fire services agreement with Lacombe County that is expected to improve efficiency.
Lacombe County council approved the deal last week and Lacombe city council followed suit on Monday.
The agreement has been in the works since 2020 and came out of the process to create an Intermunicipal Collaboration Framework (ICF) between the two municipalities.
A 2016 update to the Municipal Government Act required all municipalities bordering each other to create an ICF to encourage co-operation, and joint strategic planning while providing services more efficiently, including cost sharing when possible.
“The city and our friends at Lacombe County have a long history of finding mutually beneficial solutions through collaborative means,” said Mayor Grant Creasey in a statement Wednesday. “This agreement will help ensure the longevity of our respective fire departments while also ensuring fire services are delivered efficiently, effectively and economically.”
The new agreement provides fire services through a fee-for-service model.
“This agreement is the culmination of nearly three years of work towards finding a suitable and equitable way to fund fire services in the Lacombe District,” said county Reeve Barb Shepherd.
“The safety and well-being of our communities has guided us throughout this process, and the joint efforts from both municipalities have yielded a framework that will serve as a model for intermunicipal cooperation.”
Overall, the agreement establishes the terms under which the city will provide contract fire services in a county response area, and includes resource allocation, costs, insurance, dispute resolution, and termination conditions.
The agreement includes definitions, roles, fees, conflict resolution, and termination provisions. The county said the move will streamline administration and accounting and simplify a partnership that was previously managed through five separate funding and operation agreements.
“The Lacombe Fire Department has always provided high-quality services to both the City of Lacombe and Lacombe County, and this agreement will see them continuing to do so well into the future,” said Lacombe County Fire Chief Drayton Bussiere.
“Knowing that help is on the way is what our residents expect from their fire departments,” Lacombe Fire Department Fire Chief Jason Fleming said. “This agreement solidifies our long-standing positive relationship with Lacombe County and strengthens our ability to respond during emergency situations.”
As part of the deal, the county agrees to pick up 42.5 per cent of the cost of the new fire hall. The cost, design and site have yet to be determined.
City of Lacombe will be responsible for providing all firefighting apparatus and will buy out six pieces of the county’s equipment valued at $372,000 over five years.