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DMFD fire board votes to move consolidation plan forward

3/8/17

Elizabeth Medora
Staff

NORTH VALLEY – Proposed consolidation of the Daisy Mountain and Black Canyon fire districts moved one step forward at a special meeting of the Daisy Mountain Fire Department fire board meeting on Monday.

The Black Canyon fire board voted unanimously on Feb. 23 to create a formal resolution to move the process forward, and the DMFD board voted unanimously to officially consider the resolution from the Black Canyon fire board.

These votes further the consolidation process, but consolidation is not yet a done deal, and residents will have more opportunities to give feedback. The next step in the process is to consult with the Yavapai and Maricopa Counties Boards of Supervisors. A series of public meetings will be held, at which local residents can receive more information and share their views on the proposed consolidation. The meeting dates have yet to be announced; residents will be mailed notices of these meetings.

DMFD fire board attorney Nick Cornelius attended the March 6 meeting via teleconference and noted that this vote is “the first step to take a look at the issues related to it [consolidation]”, with the DMFD board now officially considering the Black Canyon fire board’s resolution.

In the past several weeks, several open meetings have been held to discuss different ways the fire departments could join forces or if they should continue as two separate districts. Of all the options, both fire boards want to further consider consolidation, under which the Black Canyon Fire Department would become part of the Daisy Mountain Fire Department, continuing to serve Black Canyon City but now operating as a fifth station of the DMFD.

Both fire departments have always worked closely together, and they currently share a fire chief and administrative support under a service contract between the departments. Through consolidation, the Black Canyon crew, under the umbrella of DMFD, would become part of the automatic aid system that allows multiple fire departments around the Valley to automatically be dispatched to assist each other when needed.

The Black Canyon Fire Department is facing financial crisis within the next few years, partly due to Prop 117, which capped increases in property values. Rather than waiting until the financial issues are imminent, the Black Canyon fire board has been looking ahead for options to ensure emergency services for residents, ultimately voting to continue consideration of consolidation.

Consolidation would offer some bulk cost savings for the districts. The plan under consideration will not cost DMFD residents anything, nor will there be any additional costs for Black Canyon City residents. Financial data and overview of the plan is available online at www.daisymountainfire.org and www.bcvfd.org.

Under consolidation, the Black Canyon emergency response crew would consist of two people instead of four, until funds are available to increase the crew. The budgets used in consideration of consolidation are built on guaranteed funds, meaning that additional funds may come in from grants and other sources, which would allow for additional crew members.

DMFD fire board member Delene Mahoney noted at the March 6 special meeting that the board is trying to be cautious and organized as they navigate this process and that with a good plan and good management in place, “Then we think we can make this work very well.”

Public meetings dates will be announced when they become available. Stay updated on the consolidation process by following DMFD on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DMFDPIO. Read more about the background of the districts’ consolidation proposal in past Foothills Focus articles, available online at www.TheFoothillsFocus.com; click on Focus Archives to see full issues.