LINDON If a house fire begins raging at 3 a.m., Lindon residents may not think about which city is sending the firetruck they just want help and they want it fast.
But who will respond quicker, Pleasant Grove or Orem? Who will charge more? And what about deference to Pleasant Grove, which has provided emergency services to Lindon for the last two decades?
"I don't care ... who gets it," said Dave Lesser, a Lindon resident and employee of Orem's Department of Public Safety. "If this brings 24-hour coverage to my family and my neighborhood, so be it. We've needed this forever."
But after a public hearing Thursday night, the Lindon City Council still had a list of questions it wanted both cities to answer before tit decides on Tuesday which city to hire for dispatch, fire and emergency medical services.
Ott Dameron, Lindon city administrator, said as the council looked into different options, members realized that fire and ambulance services couldn't be detached from dispatch because of the importance of quick response times.
Since creating a Lindon dispatch center would cost millions, uniting with another city was the only feasible option, said Lindon Police Chief Cody Cullimore.
"This is not about a lack of service or discontent," said Lindon Mayor Jim Dain. "This is simply our attempt to take the next step in city services for Lindon. We would like to ... have a full-time presence in this facility we have here."
Lindon has a fire station just east of the City Center, which though small, is a temporary option and would house an engine and ambulance until the city could build a larger station.
"We checked where all the fire stations are located from Provo up to Alpine," Dameron said. "There is kind of a gap in service, so with Lindon's fire station active, it kind of fills that gap."
Right now, Lindon pays Pleasant Grove nearly $600,000 a year for fire and emergency medical services.
A potential contact with Orem would cost $1.2 million and include dispatch services, full-time Orem staffing of 12, administrative services, as well as a loaned firetruck and ambulance.
Pleasant Grove's bid was nearly $1.9 million, but includes dispatch services, administrative costs, the cost of hiring 12 full-time Lindon personnel, lease payments on a new fire engine and ambulance, as well as loose equipment to stock the vehicles.
"The bottom line is Lindon's gotta have full-time people in their station," said Pleasant Grove Fire Chief Mark Sanderson. "Whoever does it, doesn't matter. They'll get great care from either community, either department."
Sanderson stressed that this decision shouldn't create hurt feelings or personal loyalties. No employees will lose their jobs, and even if his department cuts back by 420 calls the number they responded to in Lindon in 2007 it's OK. It's all about patient care and speed of service, he said.
"It doesn't matter where it comes from," he said. "That's truly my goal, to make sure the fires go out and people get taken care of the quickest."
If Lindon chooses Pleasant Grove, between $200,000 and $300,000 in ambulance fees would be generated for Lindon since it would be using its own ambulance. If Orem is chosen, the fees go to that city.
Bob Mount said that's one of the things that excites him the most Lindon having its own, new equipment, thanks to leasing. That made the most sense to Shauna Beagley too."If you're working toward your own department, wouldn't you want to buy your own (equipment)?" she asked.
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