Two fire departments across Rock River may join forces

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To better serve the community while sparing costs, two local fire departments are working to join forces.

The Rock Falls and Sterling Fire Departments are planning a merge, which could be finalized after the two city councils vote on Monday, September 9, 2013, according to a report by Sauk

If the councils approve the union, the departments will come together on September 28, the day after the Rock Falls Fire Chief, J.W. Larson retires, leaving Fire Chief Gary Cook from Sterling as the chief of the joint command, according to the report.

Sterling City Manager, Scott Shumard said combining the departments wouldn’t be a huge money saver for Sterling, but Rock Falls’ City Administrator, Robbin Blackert, said it would save Rock Falls about $45,000 per year.

The fire chief’s $90,000 salary, insurance, pension, and other costs would be split by the two cities. Based on populations, Sterling would cover 61 percent and Rock Falls would cover 39 percent, according to Blackert.

“I think both sides of the river’s interests are protected, and it’ll be beneficial,” said Blackert.

Sauk Valley reported that the vote will take place on Monday at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall in Rock Falls.