Fire Boards Inch Closer To Reaching Agreement

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Another round of contract negotiations between the Houston Mesa and Beaver Valley fire boards yielded an agreement with the help of County Manager John Nelson, acting as mediator.

"I believe we at least have an outline for a contract that will be good for both communities," Nelson said.

Beaver Valley's move to split off from the combined department with Houston Mesa and field an independent volunteer fire department began a controversy that has divided the citizens of Beaver Valley.

The stumbling block has been the agreement by both parties on the sum of money Beaver Valley should pay HMFD for fire and paramedic services until the BVFD is up and running.

Chairman of the BVFD Board, Larry Martin argued that the amount of money HMFD requested would leave them with no funds for training and equipment for the new department. Both Nelson and HMFD Chairman, Sheelah Golliglee agreed that anything less than the sum requested would be subsidizing Beaver Valley for services at the expense of the Houston Mesa district's taxpayers.

At the latest workshop, it looked as though the parties had, again, hit a stalemate over the issue of money when Nelson called for a break and requested a brief, private meeting with each chairman.

First speaking with Golliglee and then Martin, the parties returned to the table and reached an agreed sum for quarterly services.

Beaver Valley agreed to pay a sum of $6,600 per quarter to the HMFD for paramedic and fire services. This figure, Nelson said, would permit fire and paramedic services to continue without subsidizing Beaver Valley.

"I would not have recommended the plan if I had seen the subsidizing of services to Beaver Valley," Nelson said.

The resulting contract will go to both boards for final approval and unless there is another snag, the Beaver Valley residents concerned about services can rest easy, at least for the next quarter.

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