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City hires four paid on-call firefighters

Council gets study on fire/EMS consolidation

ROCK FALLS – The city’s fire department received permission Tuesday night to hire four paid on-call firefighters.

Also Tuesday night, City Administrator Robbin Blackert gave council members a copy of an 80-page study analyzing whether money could be saved by combining Sterling and Rock Falls fire departments and CGH EMS services.

Sterling City Council members heard the presentation from Texas-based Matrix Consulting Monday night. Among other findings, consultant Robert Finn told Sterling aldermen that combining the two fire departments and CGH EMS services would not save money.

He provided a list of suggestions and recommendations for joint efforts that would save money, including sharing equipment.

Blackert said she would deliver a 10-minute presentation on the study’s findings at the council’s meeting Nov. 6.

“I think it pretty much came out like the city of Rock Falls had thought it would, and I think much of the city of Sterling, but there’s still a lot of possibilities ahead of us,” Blackert said after the meeting.

On the first official day the reconstructed First Avenue Bridge was open to motorists, the council recognized the work of those who made the $27 million project happen.

Mayor David Blanton presented Darin Baughman of Civil Constructors and Illinois Department of Transportation resident engineer Matt Hardt with certificates honoring their work.

“It had come up a few weeks ago ... how appreciative not just the elected officials in Rock Falls but the citizens of Rock Falls had been with the progress on the bridge,” Blackert said. “So the aldermen asked if they would come to a council meeting so we could thank them.

“Little did we know at that time in honor of them coming to our council meeting they would open the bridge that day.”

The bridge carries 27,000 vehicles a day. The project was completed a month ahead of schedule.

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