MONUMENT — After over 20 years of discussion, the merging of two fire departments serving the Monument area is official.
The Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District joined forces with the Donald Wescott Fire Department to form the Monument Fire District. The two departments are combining services to assist around 43,000 residents in the 62 square mile district.
Monument Fire District Chief Andy Kovacs said one factor in the decision to merge was the growing population in Monument, rising from around eight thousand to over 11 thousand in three years.
"As the district, it's our responsibility to make sure that we're growing with our community. Over the next several years, we know that Colorado Springs, really the entire front range is just growing. There's so much new construction, with residential homes and commercial property," Kovacs said.
The merge will also allow the department to be on the same page when providing emergency response and wildfire mitigation. Kovacs said the Tri-Lakes Department will no longer need to build a new station in the southern part of their boundary.
"The Tri-Lakes District was looking at building a fire station on the west side of I-25 and Baptist. Well, fire stations are about four to six million dollars. Now that we're merged, the Wescott station can service that area," he said.
With a portion of the money saved, the department hopes to hire up to six firefighters and more administrative staff come 2023. Kovacs said taxpayers may see benefits with the merge.
"If you have two fire districts, that means you have to have two fire chiefs, two administrative staff, and by merging the two districts, we kind of saved the taxpayers a little bit of money by just having one set of services," he said.
Kovacs said the bottom line is that by joining forces, the department can cover more area and reach people faster.
"By having a fire station a little bit closer to the person dialing 911 means a shorter drive for our paramedic ambulance and our fire engines to get to the scene," he said.
Over the next few months, Kovacs said people can expect to see logos changing on their fleet and uniforms to reflect the new Monument Fire District.
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