Cedar Fort/Fairfield to create joint fire department
CEDAR FORT -- Cedar Fort Mayor David Gustin proposed a joint fire department agreement between Cedar Fort and Fairfield at the Cedar Fort Town Council meeting on May 24, 2018. The Mayor said that he has already met with Fairfield Mayor Brad Gurney to assess both towns' needs and begin the process of unifying the fire department into a joint venture. Gustin said that before proceeding further he wanted the Town Council's input on the proposal.
The current fire protection contract between the two towns expires July 1. Under the current agreement, Cedar Fort operates and maintains the fire department and Fairfield pays $5,000 per year for fire protection. The contract comes up for renewal every year. Cedar Fort currently budgets $20,000 per year to run the fire department. The Cedar Fort/Fairfield Volunteer Fire Department also has a reciprocal agreement with Eagle Mountain's Unified Fire Department to ensure optimal response times and adequate personnel in emergencies.
Even though Fairfield's population is smaller than Cedar Fort's, responding to fires at the landfill in Fairfield has created a "significant drain" on the fire department's resources, according to Mayor Gustin. "Our costs are not determined on a per capita basis, or even by the number of calls," Gustin said. Buying and maintaining equipment, training firefighters and running a fire station remain constant expenses. Since both towns receive the same fire coverage, the two towns should bear equal responsibility, both financial and governing, Gustin said.
The proposed combined fire department would be administered by a governing board of seven seats comprised of the Fire Chief, one volunteer, two board members from Cedar Fort, two from Fairfield and one from Unified Fire. The governing board would make decisions on financial expenditures and equipment and provide the oversight that is currently managed by the Cedar Fort mayor and Town Council.
The new fire agreement, if adopted by both Cedar Fort and Fairfield, would include matching funds of $20,000 per year from each town. Also, Fairfield would contribute $10,000 as a one-time buy-in towards purchasing improved equipment for the combined department. According to Fire Chief Steve Bowen, the fire department hopes to purchase an engine, tender and brush truck as refurbished used equipment, to update the fire fleet. Mayor Gustin and Mayor Gurney are suggesting that the united department be named "Cedar Valley Volunteer Fire Department."
The Cedar Fort Town Council voted unanimously to move forward with negotiations to create a joint fire department agreement between Cedar Fort and Fairfield.
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