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CUMBERLAND â€” After more than a year of study, the Town Council later this month will be presented with a final report on the plan being proposed to consolidate the town's four independent fire districts.
The final report by Donald I. Jacobs of Holden, Mass.-based D.I. Jacobs Management Consulting Services will be submitted to the council once it is reviewed by Mayor Daniel McKee and his staff, McKee told council members this week. After that, the report will be formally presented to the council, which will hold a public hearing some time before the end of the month.
There was originally talk that the hearing would be held on Oct. 17, but that date is being reconsidered because at least one council member will not be available to attend. Town Council President James T. Higgins said the public hearing date would be scheduled within seven days of the council receiving the report.
Jacob's company was hired to conduct a comprehensive feasibility planning assessment for the purpose of consolidating the town's fire services as either an independent, municipal or regional department. In its final report, the firm is recommending the town consolidate the town's four independent fire districts as a single entity with one chief and one tax rate governed by one board appointed by the Town Council.
The study conducted by Jacobs was a three-phase process. The first phase was exploratory with Jacobs and his team - including Andover, Mass. Fire Chief Michael Mansfield - meeting and talking with all of the town's various fire chiefs, fire district trustees and district employees.
Read more in our print edition.