ST. CLOUD/WAITE PARK (WJON News) -- The St. Cloud City Council on Monday night voted in favor of a 10-year agreement with Waite Park to provide an initial response for fire and emergency services. The Waite Park City Council had earlier approved the agreement.

St. Cloud and its surrounding cities already have a mutual aid agreement that has been in place for years, but St. Cloud Fire Chief Matt Love says this new agreement goes a step further.

Waite Park has been excellent in acknowledging this is probably going past mutual aid, it's time to formalize something and say we are using resources more than giving them, which is certainly okay, but because of that it extends beyond mutual aid to where we tried to come up with a compensation model to what those resources are costing.

Love says the agreement calls for Waite Park to pay St. Cloud about $588,000 per year to start with an increase in compensation built into any increase in calls.

Waite Park will still maintain a fire department and will be responsible for taking over the scene once they arrive.

We can get the first initial resource there very rapidly and that will either stabilize the scene, make any necessary rescues, or immediately attack fires.  But Waite Park is still running a full fire department.  They are just now responsible for providing the second, third, and fourth trucks rather than the first truck.

Love says crews at Fire Station 2 will cover Waite Park.

The four communities of St. Cloud, Waite Park, Sartell and St. Joseph are participating in a joint fire study right now to find more ways to work cooperatively.

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St. Cloud has a plan to build Fire Station 6 near Tech High School to cover the south end of the metro, but Love says that's still a few years away from becoming a reality.

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