Fire/EMS cost information

 Whitewater Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department (FEMS)

Methodology for allocation costs of service across communities served.

This information was presented by 1st Assistant Chief, Ryan Dion, at the last Board meeting on January 10, 2024. This information explains how the City of Whitewater determined the amount owed by each participating municipality for fire/EMS services in 2024.



October:          Proposed FEMS budget established for subsequent year

Allocation model updated and cost estimates provided to each municipality

November:      FEMS budget formally adopted for subsequent year

Allocation model and cost estimates for each municipality finalized

Township contracts drafted and delivered for subsequent year service

December:       WI DOR completes Equalization process for current year

June:                Municipalities complete board of review

Budget planning begins

August:           FEMS Capital Equipment Budgeting updated for upcoming budget year

September:      FEMS Operational budget updated for upcoming budget year


Allocation Model:

Costs are allocated based on two-factors:

  1. 25% weighting – Equalized Value

Equalized value is used to normalize differences in level of assessment in each municipality. As the state does not complete the equalization process until late November each year, this model uses valuation data for 2 years prior to the service year. For example, 2021 assessment / equalized value data is used for 2023 service.

The Equalized Value factor is determined as follows:

  1. Assessed data for the municipalities is collected from each county by the GIS Analyst.
  2. The GIS Analyst generates a parcel-level excel listing of all parcels that fall within the service area of the FEMS department.
  3. Finance obtains the Annual Assessment Summary for each municipality from the DOR website to determine the total assessed values in each municipality.
  4. Finance obtains the Statement of Assessment for each municipality to obtain the official Assessment Ratio for each municipality.
  5. Finance translates the assessed value in each municipality that is served by the FEMS department into the estimated equalized value for each municipality. This is done by dividing each municipality’s assessed value by its assessment ratio.
  6. Finance calculates the Equalized value percentage that each municipality represents of the total service area. This percentage is used in calculating the allocation with a 25% weighting.


  1. 75% weighting – Call volume

Call volume data identifies how many total calls for service are generated from each municipality. A five-year trailing average is used to smooth year-year variations. The five-year period ends with the same year of the valuation (i.e. 2021 for 2023 service as the 2022 data is not yet complete when budgeting for 2023).

The call volume factor is determined as follows:

  1. The Fire Chief provides the call data report to include the past five-year period.
  2. Finance summarizes the number of calls provided to each municipality.
  3. Finance calculates the proportion of calls each municipality received in each calendar year (call-mix)
  4. Finance calculates the simple average of the trailing five individual year call mix values for each municipality. This percentage is used in calculating the allocation with a 75% weighting.

The weighted average of these two factors (Blended Mix) determines the proportion of the budgeted costs that each municipality will be allocated. Finance to send the results of this process to each Township Clerk once complete.