Abby to continue in merger discussion

Abbotsford’s city council voted Tuesday to have the city continue participating in discussions with other area representatives about the possibility of merging fire and ambulance services.
The 5-1 vote — with Ald. Roger Weideman voting no and Alds. Bob Gosse and Brent Faber absent — came after some heated exchanges with assistant fire chief John Austin and supporters of the fire department who said the council needs to do a better job of communicating with firefighters about the proposed consolidation with Colby and Dorchester’s emergency services.
“You guys have never once come to our meeting and asked how we felt about it,” Austin said. “Never once have we been approached with any numbers.”
Ald. Marty Schwantes said he was frustrated by what he sees as a lack of momentum on the part of the firefighters to meet with consultant John Neihart and discuss the possible financial benefits of combining area fire and EMS services.

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