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Unlike fire departments, the independent Sedona Fire District does not fall under the jurisdiction of the city it serves.

But that doesn’t stop the two from working well together in many areas including communications. At the Tuesday, June 13, Sedona City Council meeting, there was a unanimous vote to approve an intergovernmental agreement for communication services provided to the Sedona Police Department by the SFD.

A report states that the SPD and SFD have worked together for a number of years in a shared services agreement for Telecom Support services provided by the SFD’s telecom division. The agreement is set to expire Friday, June 30. Both parties have the desire to renew the agreement with a simplified annual cost inflator of 5 percent per year.

Telecom service provided includes maintenance of SPD radio systems and tower sites, some of which are co-located on fire district towers. This agreement is a renewal that provides both SPD and SFD shared Telecom services and the ability to share tower locations for ease of maintenance and communications.

This agreement continues the cooperative interagency efforts that both SPD and SFD have fostered for years, the report states.

The annual agreement calls for annual payments of:

  • FY 2018: $38,525.76
  • FY 2019: $40,452.00
  • FY 2020: $42,474.60
  • FY 2021: $44,598.36

“We rely upon the fire [district] to help us manage our radio system,” SPD Chief David McGill said. “We don’t have any contractors outside of the fire [district]. They do a great job for us.”

The IGA was first signed in 2012, which included that same annual escalator of 5 percent. SFD Chief Kris Kazian said at the time the annual amount agreed upon was far lower than needed.

“It’s considerably more than just making your radios work,” he said of the service SPD receives. “There’s a lot to the IGA in technical terms such as the radio towers, making sure the equipment is working, the rental of the space and generators to make sure the power in uninterrupted. It’s quite complex.”

Vice Mayor John Martinez said while he appreciates the agreement, he feels 5 percent is too high. Kazian pointed out that the city is actually getting more bang for their buck than may be realized.

And, the 5 percent is a balance between those years where equipment needs to be upgraded at significant costs compared to those years where no costs are incurred.

“Our costs to provide the technology aren’t getting any cheaper,” Kazian said. “It’s not the consumer price index that’s driving our costs, it’s truly the cost of doing business. Our telecom budget is over $1 million. “To be honest with you, the number [contract amount] needs to be well north of where it’s at. But in good cooperation, we’ve tried to find a good escalator to get us somewhere closer to where it should be. So, I’m happy to sit down with staff and come up with the right number but again, it will be north of this amount. Then we can create an escalator that you like.”

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