The Gilbert Town Council OK'd continuing the town's support role for Queen Creek's fledgling fire department Tuesday night, and their counterparts in Queen Creek are expected to do the same tonight.
The new agreement sets the fees Queen Creek will pay for vehicle and equipment maintenance, training, investigation and other services, replacing a contract that expires Dec. 31.
Queen Creek paid Gilbert $643,014 through the end of November for fire department-related assistance, Gilbert assistant fire chief Jim Jobusch said.
But Queen Creek has not relied as much upon the Gilbert Fire Department while setting up its own department as initially expected. The original plan anticipated Gilbert getting paid somewhere between $3 million and $4 million by Queen Creek to provide administrators and firefighters for their fledgling department during 2008, along with equipment and maintenance.
But Queen Creek moved quickly to hire its own chief and personnel, and by March its first two trucks should be delivered from Wisconsin, so it won't have to lease two spare pumper trucks from Gilbert, for a total of $12,000 a month.
Queen Creek fire Chief Van Summers said all 28 of the town's firefighters came from Rural/Metro, the private agency that had been providing fire protection for Queen Creek.
Gilbert fire Chief Collin Dewitt said Mesa took on a similar fostering role when Gilbert formed its own fire department in the early 1990s, "and we eventually grew out of that arrangement. But we still use Mesa's dispatch center, and we'll probably do that forever."
Queen Creek Mayor Art Sanders said he's grateful for the chance to buy some help from Gilbert. "I don't know if they're getting anything out of it but it's sure helped us out," he said.