St. Francis to continue with shared fire service study

With little discussion, the St. Francis City Council became the first city council to approve moving ahead with continued work on shared fire services.

The council May 7 unanimously approved participating in further efforts to design shared fire services.

Since last September, a committee, which included elected officials, city administrators, fire chiefs and firefighters, representing five cities has been investigating how the cities of Bethel, Nowthen, Oak Grove, Ramsey and St. Francis could share services.

The committee looked at the benefits, impacts and issues that may arise from the cities combining their fire departments into a district and councilmembers from each city were given the results of the committee’s work at a joint meeting in Ramsey April 12.

After hearing the results, the councils were given until May to submit any questions to the committee.

At its meeting April 16, the St. Francis council did not have any questions to submit.

The committee did a good job, said Councilmember Tim Brown at the April 16 meeting.

The individual councils should not micromanage the job the committee did and “muck it up,” he said.

Councilmember Jeff Sandoval said “the information was given to us and it’s time to make a decision.”

The councils have until June 1 to decide if they wish to be part of further shared services investigation.

The next step could involve hiring an outside consultant to look at the best organizational structure and funding structure.

Tammy Sakry is at [email protected]