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Muskegon may pay Muskegon Heights to provide fire department services

By Jon Mills/WZZM-TV • Mar 14, 2018 at 11:00 AM

The City of Muskegon Heights plans to offer the City of Muskegon a formal proposal to provide fire department services to Muskegon by the end of May.

Then it would be up to Muskegon leaders to decide if they want to outsource the city’s fire department services.

Muskegon Heights City Manager Jake Eckholm said the initial talks between the two cities started last fall.

Right now, Muskegon Heights doesn't have sufficient information to make an offer to Muskegon. Muskegon Heights leaders plan to study the idea over the next two months.

If an agreement is reached, it would likely mean Muskegon Heights firefighters will staff fire stations in Muskegon. Eckholm said any proposal would include quality fire coverage for both cities.

Right now, Eckholm is studying fire call data in both cities. He said any proposal would be the result of a diligent study.

There are no possible estimates at this time what fire services provided by Muskegon Heights would cost Muskegon.

The City of Muskegon and the firefighters union have been at odds recently over a $700,000 cut to the department’s budget. The union believes the city has allowed department staffing to reach dangerously low levels.

Eckholm said that without a doubt, if a deal is struck with Muskegon, it would result in Muskegon Heights hiring more firefighters.

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