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Kansas legislature

Kansas Legislature

Attempt to revive fire districts bill fails

May 17, 2013

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— A bill that would have allowed residents to have an election if they wanted to detach from a fire district appears to be dead for the 2013 legislative session.

The measure was sought by Douglas County Commissioner Jim Flory, and an effort by state Rep. Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence, to revive it failed in the House on Friday.

Flory said Marion Township, where he lives, in Douglas County is covered by Fire District No. 4 in Osage County, but Marion Township is closer to the Clinton Township Fire Department substation. Under current law, he said, when a fire district has territory in more than one county, the residents of the district who do not live in the “home” county cannot detach from that district if the district’s governing body denies their petition.

“The current state of the law creates a situation where select residents essentially lack representation on the governing bodies that control a portion of their taxation,” Flory had said.

But the Kansas State Firefighters Association opposed the bill, saying it could be abused in a way that hinders the ability of fire districts to depend on its tax base to purchase necessary equipment.

Sloan had argued it was a safety issue, with residents in Marion Township served by a fire department farther away than the closest one. Sloan tried to send another bill back to committee to include the fire districts bill, but that was rejected by the House.

Comments

Charles L Bloss Jr 1 year, 7 months ago

I agree with Jim Flory and Tom Sloan. If my home was on fire, I would want the closest fire department to respond. They would, most likely, call for assistance if the fire was other than a small one. Living in a rural area makes it very likely if your home catches fire, it is lost unless there is a hydrant close. I am on a rural water district where the line goes in front of my property. I have often wondered why they did not make it a 6" line, rather than a 4" one. I would gladly pay for the difference, as a 6" line would enable fire hydrants which would lower my home insurance, and make it much more likely that my home could be saved should it catch fire.

Brian Hall 1 year, 7 months ago

So things that don't matter and cost the taxpayer more money are quickly pushed through without thought or regard but something that could help save lives is tossed aside. Makes sense to me.

chiefdist2 1 year, 7 months ago

There are other options to persue. In Jefferson County we have what is called Automatic Mutual Aid where, on all structure fires and other serious incidents, more than one depatment is sent on the initial call. We have found it works well in our rural areas where all firefighters are volunteers. It is never known how many firefighters will respond. Lobby your county dispatch agency to see if this a possibility.

Charles L Bloss Jr 1 year, 7 months ago

Great, I would hope that Douglas County has the same policy with it's township fire departments.

JayhawkFan1985 1 year, 7 months ago

Chief, is your argument really that people should pay taxes to one district whose equipment is farther away and for which they don't have voting rights but then depend on the closer one for service? That's assbackward which makes sense I suppose in a state as brownbackward as ours....

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