Topeka 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.