Monday, April 22, 2013

Council Creates Ad Hoc Committee to Study Fire District

In a move to enhance transparency and education, Taylorsville City Council members created an ad hoc committee to explore the November vote on whether Taylorsville should join the Salt Lake Valley Fire District.

“We wanted a group of residents who would look at this issue with an open mind, study the facts, and present the information to the public,” said Council Chair Dama Barbour. “We are okay with whatever their findings may be.”

Barbour asked each of the five city council members to invite two people from their district to serve on this committee. Former Mayor Janice Auger Rasmussen is chairing the committee which has been actively meeting, gathering data, listening to professionals, and dissecting the information. The group is expected to present their findings during a city council meeting this summer.

“We appreciate the progressive step the council has made to allow the 10 of us to explore this issue,” said Rasmussen. “We have some on the committee who were pro Fire District, some who were anti, and some, like me, who needed more information to decide what would be best for the city. Everyone has put this aside to do their due diligence in researching the options for fire services.”

The committee is specifically looking at costs and service protocols. They are exploring different possibilities including: joining the Salt Lake Valley Fire District, starting an independent Taylorsville Fire Department, contracting with a neighboring city for fire and emergency services, and continuing to contract with the Unified Fire Authority, which is what the city does at present.

The city council voted last summer to join the Fire District, a separate taxing entity which would then fund Taylorsville’s fire and emergency services through Unified Fire Authority.

The Salt Lake Valley Fire Service Area District does not provide the actual fire services, but is a funding mechanism to pay for the services. The Fire District has the ability to levy property taxes which are then forwarded to UFA for fire services. Currently unincorporated Salt Lake County, Herriman, Riverton, and Midvale are part of the Fire District.

Residents, who disagreed with the city council’s decision, submitted enough petition signatures to put the issue on the November 2013 ballot.

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