The Fort Scott Tribune
Tuesday, March 20, 2018
The Bourbon County Commissioners on Tuesday signed a resolution that consolidates two volunteer fire departments.
The resolution means there is no longer a Redfield Fire Department that stands on its own. Instead, that department, formerly identified as District 4, is now combined with Bourbon County Fire District 3.
BCFD No. 3 Chief Delwin Mumbower and Hiattville Fire Station Chief Luella Howard, Redfield Mayor Ed Guss and Clerk John Speer attended the meeting.
Bourbon County Counselor Justin Meeks said those who authored a petition submitted to the county clerk had used the correct language in the petition.
He said the two fire districts fall under Kansas State Statute 80-147, Consolidation of certain fire districts in urban areas; resolution of county commissioners; petition of electors; election, when; effective date of consolidation.
“Commissioners, I want to commend the individual who wrote the petition,” Meeks said. “They did an excellent job in following the statutes and mentioning the KSAs (Kansas Statutes Annoted) that were important.”
He said one key statute is 19-3619, which addresses “consolidation with adjoining district; outstanding bonds; approval of consolidation agreement; findings; designation; governing body of consolidated district, terms.”
Also important, according to Meeks, is the statement found in KSA 1903619 that “(a) Each district as previously constituted would in its opinion be benefited by receiving as good or better service if consolidated; and (b) it would make possible either lower fire insurance rates on properties within the district or prevent establishing of higher rates.”
“Obviously that’s an opinion,” Meeks said. “But I think by them signing this, they (governing bodies of each fire district) obviously have thought this through, so the commissioners have to say, (a) they are getting better service.”
Commission Chairman Lynne Oharah said there would be better service because the need for a mutual aid agreement between two districts would be eliminated.
“A lot of times they have to make a second call to call a fire department in, and this eliminates that,” Oharah said.
Meeks said the county has no say in whether the consolidation would lower insurance rates, but he would “assume” that would happen.
Oharah said he believes District 4 is within a five-mile radius of the Redfield fire station. Mumbower said some areas of the district are within less than a five-mile radius and other areas are beyond five miles.
KSA 19-3619 also outlines how the governing body of the newly formed fire district will be formed.
Tuesday evening, Mumbower told the Tribune the district will be governed by a board of trustees, consisting of members representing each of the district’s seven areas: Redfield, Hiattville, Uniontown, Bronson, Devon, Mapleton and Fulton.
Trustees are Scott Shelton, Luella Howard, Donnie Wiggins, Paul Smith and Mike Robinson. As the BCFD No. 3 chief, Mumbower is not allowed to serve on the board, but fire station chiefs are allowed, Mumbower said.
He said now that the resolution has been passed, work can begin to legally transfer Redfield Fire Department equipment to District 3.
“We really needed this before we go changing ownership,” Mumbower said.
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