Campbell County Commissioners Decide to Terminate Joint Fire Board

(Gillette, Wyo.) Today the Campbell County Board of Commissioners, failing to reach an agreement, notified the City of Gillette, Town of Wright, and the Campbell County Fire Department that it intends to terminate the Joint Fire Board agreement. The participating entities had until the end of January to negotiate budget responsibilities. "We send this communication to you with a heavy heart as we have valued our working relationship through which we have provided fire protection services to our citizens, which is the envy of the State of Wyoming," the county wrote in a letter stating its intent. The agreement put in place in 2002 leaves the county responsible for 49.5% of purchases for fire operations and 79% of operational expenses. The city takes responsibility for 49.5% of purchases and 20% of operations, while Wright picks up 1% of each of those expenses. Campbell County, unhappy with those terms, has attempted to renegotiate the agreement since the fall of 2015. For the past two years, 56% of all costs for responding to fires have been covered the county, with the City of Gillette picking up 42%. Expenses for salaries, benefits, and other operations are incurred whether or not there are incidents that require a response from emergency fire services, and this general cost of overhead is the main concern. Much of the cost of staffing is attributed to the 24 hour response coverage in Gillette. This cost is passed on to the county, and their 79% obligation. "We simply cannot continue to be the primary funding entity," the board stated. "We remain open to entertaining serious dialog regarding each entity's fair contribution to the provision of fire protection services." Upon notice of termination, the county, city, Wright, and CCFD have until June 30th to reach a new agreement. If they cannot, the Joint Fire Powers Board will terminate at the end of 2017. #county17 #news