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According to the county's fire chiefs, the ESCI report "leads one to believe that cost for fire protection is higher than normal."
The fire chiefs also claim that concerns they expressed in interviews with ESCI weren't reflected in the study's findings and the chiefs also called into question some mathematical calculations in the report.
"All through the [ESCI] report you will find numbers that are different from previous pages in the report," the chiefs' memo states. For instance, the average number of volunteers per district stated in the report isn't borne out by other numbers in the report, the chiefs' report claims.
It offers another example of inconsistency: "When talking about staffing and the number of paid Assistant Chief [sic] in the county there was [sic] three different answers. On page 71 it states 8 paid Assistant Chiefs, page 73 it states 21 paid Assistant Chiefs and on page 180 they state 9 paid Assistant Chiefs. When doing a study that deals with numbers and cost of staffing you will need the right number to get the correct guidance on department's [sic] future."
This week, Yow was critical of the way county administration and the county commissioners have handled the situation from beginning to end – starting with the way the study seemed to surprise everyone by popping up out of nowhere.
Yow said that, though the commissioners did vote to approve the fire study, the full implications of doing so were never made clear to the board or the fire chiefs until after a rough draft of the final report was causing an uproar.
"I would say that the way it came about created more animosity than there needed to be," Yow said.
Yow also criticized Commissioner Kirk Perkins, the chairman of the county's fire services study committee.
"His committee has only met twice all year," Yow said.
That committee met on Wednesday, Feb. 8 and Monday, March 12, but hasn't met since.
Perkins said many of the recent conversations have been between the fire officials and the county attorney's office, with no need for a committee meeting at this time. He also said he will update the commissioners on the situation on Nov. 15.