Moreover, the fire service costs charged to each city could be based on a formula that accounts for the number of emergencies and safety inspections that take place in each city. To save money, the consolidated department could offer a single training system for firefighters, as well as a single fire prevention bureau. And a headquarters for the new agency could be located at the geographic center of the service area. Not all attempts to consolidate such public services have been successful or cost-effective, but the circumstances in the beach cities could create a model for local government cooperation. Hermosa officials should press ahead, talk to their constituents and build the political will to put in action something that has only been talked about for decades.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Beach cities should consider a consolidated department. Hermosa Beach officials last week called for more study into the idea of consolidating the fire departments of the three beach cities. Taxpayers should welcome this discussion, which has been going on for decades and could lead to improved service at a better cost. Consolidation in the private sector has been a driving force to create efficiencies, control costs and provide a better return to stockholders. It also creates problems and uncertainties, but on balance local taxpayers should embrace it when conditions are right. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREPettersson scores another winner, Canucks beat KingsHermosa has been studying several options to improve staffing disparities in its Fire Department. Cooperation among the departments in Hermosa, Manhattan and Redondo Beach has increased over the years, and consolidation would be a natural next step. According to a document on the U.S. Conference of Mayors Web site, the reorganization effort that merged the fire departments in the Alameda County cities of Livermore and Pleasanton in 1996 has proved successful. No fire stations had to close their doors, but management and support staff were streamlined through employee attrition. Overall savings from the consolidation was estimated in 1999 to be about $270,000 annually. The consolidated department serves about 140,000 residents in the Bay Area. A consolidated fire department in the beach cities would about 120,000 South Bay residents. The homogeneous populations in the beach cities and their similar service needs would likely make the transition relatively seamless. Under a consolidated department, a joint powers authority made up of one or two elected council members from each city could oversee fiscal and labor-related decisions. Such an authority could appoint the fire chief, or delegate that power to the three city managers.