You may have recently read headlines noting that a professional fire service consultant is recommending that New Hanover County and the City of Wilmington consolidate its fire departments. However, when you read the fine print, you’ll quickly note what is floating around for public consumption is an early draft report. In fact, the county commission will receive the report’s presentation at is board meeting Monday, November 17, and the city council will receive the same report at its meeting Tuesday, November 18. Before the consultant issues that final report in November, there are still 2 community meetings scheduled for October 29 and firefighter surveying to conduct.
It’s the notion of the county and city administrations that our local policy makers – the county commission and the city council – should have input from a range of stakeholders before those elected officials make a final decision. As such, I don’t expect the county and city to meet until the first quarter of 2015 to make a joint decision about what’s in the best interest of residents in the unincorporated county and the city as it relates to fire service.