Littleton, partners reach fire-protection deal

Posted 1/4/12

The Highlands Ranch Metro District will continue contracting fire protection services from Littleton despite doubts that a new agreement would be …

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Littleton, partners reach fire-protection deal


The Highlands Ranch Metro District will continue contracting fire protection services from Littleton despite doubts that a new agreement would be reached.

The Littleton City Council passed a revised intergovernmental agreement at its Jan. 3 meeting, continuing the city’s longtime deal with the Metro District and the Littleton Fire Protection District.

The Metro District reviewed the possibility of breaking away from Littleton Fire Rescue after commissioning a 2010 study to examine its options for fire protection services going forward.

Littleton Fire Rescue has served the 220,000 residents of the three entities included in the intergovernmental agreement for more than 20 years. Negotiations during the past year resulted in a revised contract to keep the partnership alive. With Littleton’s acceptance Jan. 3, all three entities have approved the new agreement.

“My thanks to everyone involved for their good faith in negotiating a new agreement. It will continue to serve our communities well into the future with the most cost-effective, professional fire and EMS services available,” Littleton Mayor Debbie Brinkman said.

The revised contract includes six key changes. Notably, it establishes minimum response times of 10 minutes to the Metro District and 9 minutes, 30 seconds to the Littleton Fire Protection District, a goal Littleton Fire Rescue must meet on 90 percent of calls.

A joint review committee will be formed to discuss issues at monthly meetings.

Additionally, the funding formula was revamped with the goal of lowering administrative costs, all fire engines and medical units must be staffed and equipped at the Advanced Life Support level, and every shift must have a minimum of 36 full-time personnel on the clock.

“This is significant for our community because it assures our current excellent level of service into the future and ensures a fair distribution of the costs,” Metro District General Manager Terry Nolan said.

The Littleton Fire Protection District owns three fire stations while the Metro District and the City of Littleton both own two. Ownership of Station 16 near Chatfield Lake is split three ways. Firefighters and support staff are employed by the city.

The Littleton City Council sets the fire budget every year, with the districts only able to make recommendations. The budget has remained steady between $15.5 million and $16 million since 2008, with projected 2012 expenditures at $16 million.

The 2010 Metro District study came on the heels of a 2008 Operational Efficiency Study that found numerous areas Littleton Fire Rescue needed to improve upon, such as communication between the three entities and defining their specific roles. The report states relationships between the three parties were sometimes strained.

Like its predecessor, the newly approved agreement will remain in effect until any of the three parties decides to terminate it with 12 months notice.

“This contract is not the end of a process,” said David Oppenheim, board chairman of the Littleton Fire Protection District. “It is a tool for us to continue to work together to ensure that our constituents receive the very best fire protection and emergency medical services at a reasonable and affordable cost.”

The fire protection district includes a chunk of west Centennial and parts of unincorporated Douglas and Jefferson counties.


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