Fire district merger goes before voters

Get ready to vote on your fire protection.

The Yavapai County Board of Supervisors approved placing the merger of two fire districts on the Nov. 6 ballot. The Verde Rural Fire District and the Cornville-Page Springs district seek a merger to be more efficient in cost and service.

Verde Rural Fire Chief Don Eberle said the combining of fire districts has been investigated for five years for all of the Upper Verde Valley. At this point, it was determined feasible only for Verde Rural and Cornville-Page Springs, and this plan has been worked on since 1999.

"We've determined that this was the right thing to do," Eberle told the supervisors Monday.

The merger, he said, would create a tax-rate decrease of about 4 percent.

Both fire boards approved the merger. The departments also met with affected homeowners associations and will have open houses as the election date draws near.

Supervisor Chip Davis said it was a very welcome merger at a time when "territorialism" abounds.

"The neat thing about this deal is we have very responsible board members and fire chiefs saying we need to put aside territorialism, and this is what's best for the taxpayer," Davis said.

The merger would join the 32 square miles of the Verde Rural district and the 63 square miles of Cornville-Page Springs district. Eberle, who was formerly chief of the Cottonwood Fire Department before joining Verde Rural, would become chief of the new district. Doug Longfellow, currently chief of Cornville-Page Springs, would be to assistant chief.


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