Verde Valley Fire District becomes official

The board of directors for each district met at the Verde Rural station where they selected board members for the new Verde Valley Fire District.

Of the original Verde Rural board members, Charlie Wright, Bob Eddingfield and Linda Quam were chosen to serve the new district. Of the original Cornville/Page Springs board members, Gerald Shanks and Richard McGowan were selected.

Oaths of office were administered to the new board and the meeting quickly concluded, ending both of the established districts.

"Let's adjourn once and for all," Wright said.

A short interlude followed and a meeting for the new district was called to order. The new board members voted Wright the chairman and Shanks the clerk for the new board.

Don Eberle, former chief for Verde Rural will become fire chief for the new district and Doug Longfellow, former chief for Cornville/Page Springs will be the new assistant fire chief.

Members established a meeting schedule for the new board. They will meet the fourth Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m. with the option to rotate stations where the meetings are held.

Other business discussed included continuation of retirement and social security benefits for employees of both former districts.

New board members also reviewed a proposed Intergovernmental Emergency Services Agreement between the Verde Valley Fire District and the City of Cottonwood. The agreement is in preparation for Cottonwood's annexation of the Dead Horse Ranch State Park. The area to be annexed will contain a portion that is currently within the boundaries of the Verde Valley Fire District.

The agreement allows Verde Valley Fire District to continue to have jurisdiction over and responsibility for providing services to the annexed area.

The matter will go to the Cottonwood City Council on Jan. 8.

Eberle said, if accepted, the agreement will benefit Cottonwood and the fire district.

After the meeting Eberle said he is excited about the new challenges ahead.

"It's a very dynamic opportunity to start a fire department from the ground up," Eberle said.

Longfellow said the merger will be good for everyone.

"It's a tremendous opportunity for both departments," Longfellow said.

Eberle added "It's a good day for the people and employees."

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