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Exploring Shared or Consolidated Fire Services in Southern Milwaukee County

In April 2011, at the suggestion of the Public Policy Forum and Greater Milwaukee Committee, the Intergovernmental Coordinating Council (ICC) formed a Shared Services and Cooperation Work Group to explore possibilities for greater service sharing among Milwaukee County’s 19 municipal governments. The group was formed as a response to increasing budget pressures faced by the county’s cities and villages, and the hope that certain sets of municipal services might be provided more efficiently and cost-effectively if shared or consolidated among multiple jurisdictions. Since its initial meeting one year ago, the ICC Work Group has considered the potential for service sharing in a wide range of municipal functions. It quickly settled on fire services, however, as an area of primary interest, in part because of the considerable local resources spent on that function, and in part because of the success of a consolidated fire department in Milwaukee County’s North Shore.