The recent problems of the Mesa del and Beaver Valley fire districts are not new to fire districts in Arizona. The problem of money and qualified people has been successfully solved by mergers.
If Mesa del, Beaver Valley and Whispering Pines would get together, the total money would exceed $258,000, a sum that would make it the 4th largest fire district in northern Gila County. The size of the area is very manageable, less than six miles between stations going down the Houston Mesa and Control Road. It would be covered by one chief, and full-time people at the stations most of the time. The larger size budget would provide better equipment and more training to serve the people.
At this time, the boards should appoint a task force to see if a merger is the right response to the current problems. The task force should be three from each district: one board member, not the chairman, one firefighter and one from the community who is not officially an associate of the fire district. They should be provided a small budget to meet expenses contacting recently merged districts and gathering information on fire district mergers.
The task would be somewhat difficult, but the people in these districts deserve the best service that can be provided and the boards are required to make it all available.
I hope that the people in these districts put pressure on the boards to proceed with this action.
Doug Kieft, Beaver Valley