George E. Primeau Sr.
Ask the Mayor!
City of Cohoes
97 Mohawk Street
Cohoes, NY 12047
City Hall hours
Monday thru Friday
8am - 4pm
June 19, 2013
Cohoes/Watervliet Fire Department Study
Cohoes/Watervliet FINAL Report
Public Meeting Dates:
Tuesday, May 31: First Public Meeting on Study - Cohoes Multi-Service Senior Citizens Center 6:30pm
Wednesday, June 1: Second Public Meeting - Watervliet Senior Center 6:30pm
Cooperation & Consolidation Study Data Report
Citizen's Committee FAQ
1. Why is this study being conducted?
The study is being conducted to determine the feasibility of sharing services between
the Cohoes Fire Department and the Watervliet Fire Department. As we explore different
approaches toward strengthening the delivery of services of the departments, we understand
and respect the need to be sensitive to the costs and delivery options of service. We also
have to be concerned with cost effectiveness and efficiencies within our service delivery
system. We will be looking at fire station locations, operational practices and response
statistics during the course of the study. These key elements are important in determining the
quality of service residents are receiving from their local departments.
2. Does this mean the fire departments are definitely sharing services?
No. Before making a decision, we are conducting this study to examine the feasibility of
doing so, as well as considering public input and suggestions. No decision will be made until
the study has been completed, including an evaluation of the quality and level of services,
staff availability, a cost savings analysis and response methodology. Only after all factors are
considered will a decision be made.
3. What will the study involve?
The study will be comprehensive and include as much data and statistical analysis as can
be collected in the time frame the study will be conducted in. It will be comprised of expert
opinions, organizational analysis, computer mapping analysis, interviews with fire department
personnel, expert observations of area characteristics, interviews with public officials, review
of data and documents and more. The study will also involve many stakeholder meetings to
gather the opinions and expertise of those individuals embedded in the community who can
provide knowledge-based advice on topics related to the study. In addition, gathering input
from the public will be an important aspect of the study during public hearings that will be
held during the time the study is being conducted.
4. How big is each department?
Both fire departments are paid/career fire departments. The Cohoes Fire Department
has 35 staff members, including 27 fi refighters; one fi re chief; four captains; and four fi re
lieutenants. The 2010 Cohoes Fire Department budget calls for $2,819,910 out of the total
$17.2 million City budget. The Cohoes fire department received 3,141 calls in 2009-2,182 of
which were for rescue and EMS services; 89 for fire calls; 191 for hazardous conditions; 351
service calls; 126 good intent calls; 196 system malfunction and detector activation calls; 3
special type incidents; and 3 calls related to a weather or natural disaster incident.
The Watervliet Fire Department has a staff of 25, including 16 firefighters; one fire chief;
five fire captains; two fire lieutenants; and one battalion chief. The City of Cohoes protects a
population of 15,521, covering approximately 4.2 square miles, while the City of Watervliet
protects a population of 10,207, covering approximately 1.3 square miles. In 2009, the
Watervliet Fire Department responded to 1,851 calls. EMS calls accounted for 1,122 of
the 1,851 calls while fi re calls accounted for 55. The 2010 budget for the Watervliet Fire
Department is $1,816,750 out of the total $10.2 million City budget.
Cohoes and Watervliet are teaming up for this study because both are urban municipalities,
in close proximity to one another, with similar population sizes, and similar community
needs. Because of those similarities, it will benefit both communities to explore ways to
provide the most efficient services possible to the residents of Cohoes and Watervliet.
6. What are some of the things the two cities already work on together?
This past year, Cohoes and Watervliet teamed up to support an Albany County application
to review public safety dispatching services and determine ways to minimize the costs of
such services with a combined grant. In 2008, the two cities, along with Green Island, came
together to implement a change to the cities' Mutual Aid policy, allowing for the automatic
dispatch of an engine or ladder from one community to another on alarm calls for fires in
any of the three communities. For example, if a fire were to be reported in Cohoes, an alert
would be sent to Watervliet and Green Island, dispatching units from both departments
until each receives notification that the fire was either a false alarm or could be contained
without further assistance. To date, Cohoes has utilized the Watervliet and Green Island fire
departments three times through this adjustment. Each city will meet with the public in a public hearing, as well as one joint-community public
hearing where anyone wishing to comment on the study or the information being discussed
will have ample opportunity to do so.
7. How long will the study take? The study is projected to go until at least the Spring, but will continue longer if need be to
ensure all public input is considered and all parties believe the study to be complete. All
information gathered must be carefully considered, the outcome being the most effective and
highest quality service for residents in both municipalities. After the information is gathered,
several drafts of the conclusion of the report must be completed.
8. When will I be able to provide my thoughts?
Each city will meet with the public in a public hearing, as well as one joint-community public hearing where anyone wishing to comment on the study or the information being discussed will have ample opportunity to do so.
9. Where will I be able to find updated information about the study?
As one of the goals of the study is to gain public input, information about the study and
dates and times when the public can provide its opinions will be made available on both
cities' Web sites: www.watervliet.com and www.ci.cohoes.ny.us.
This study will be prepared with funds provided by the NYS Department of State under the Local Government efficiency Grant Program.