BEECH GROVE — All 34 Beech Grove firefighters could become employees of the City of Indianapolis by the end of the year.
The City of Beech Grove is currently discussing entering into an interlocal agreement with the Indianapolis Fire Department. Mayor and former fire chief Dennis Buckley says it is a joint agreement to combine fire prevention and suppression divisions and is not a consolidation. The City will still maintain ambulance services.
The two cities have been in a mutual aid agreement for years, where Beech Grove would go into Indianapolis and vice versa. Beech Grove would pay Indianapolis monthly for the service. Buckley says the city will pay Indianapolis $3.24 million the first year versus about $4 million if things stayed the same.
Buckley says over the last couple years, the number of responses has increased and IFD is in the city every day for fire and fire alarm calls.
“We’re running there, they’re running here … it’s apparent that we are duplicating services and it’s costing more money then it should,” Buckley said. “If we combine services, we could save money, but that wasn’t the premise for why I wanted to do this… it makes our service better.”
Buckley plans to use the money saved from the agreement to improve ambulance service and increase pay for police officers.
WRTV reached out to the Beech Grove Fire Department, who said they have no comment at this time.
The agreement is currently being worked through, and will go through a council vote in August. If approved, Buckley says it will go into effect at the end of December.