Elected officials from the Village and Town of Waterford and the Village of Rochester agree: A joint fire and emergency medical services district would benefit all three municipalities.
But at least 22 years after a consolidated department was first proposed, the chance of a district for these western Racine County communities appears further off than ever. Local officials have failed to make any tangible progress and intergovernmental relations are rapidly deteriorating.
And as politics get in the way of progress, citizens are the ones who could pay the ultimate price.
Consolidated departments carry the benefit of reduced costs, unified training and response methods and better response times because jurisdictional borders are removed from the equation. Sturtevant and Mount Pleasant combined their fire departments in 2009 to form the South Shore Fire Department for those very reasons.
Waterford-area officials have at least taken notice of the potential benefits.