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February 15, 2012
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Fire district merger on track, naming contest under way

As fire districts from Rifle to Glenwood Springs move toward establishing a regional fire authority, they are seeking the public's help to find a name for the new unified emergency services organization.

Meanwhile, a nine-member steering committee of elected officials is writing an intergovernmental agreement to set up the authority.

The team working on the merger has come up with five possible names, and is asking residents to vote on their preferred name by March 2. There's also an option for a write-in name, in case someone comes up with another good idea.

Merger of the fire districts has been in the works since mid-2011. The new regional fire authority will take in the Rifle Fire Protection District, Burning Mountains Fire Protection District (serving Silt and New Castle), Glenwood Springs Rural Fire District and the Glenwood Spring Fire Department.

At present, it does not include the Grand Valley Fire Protection District, which serves Parachute, Battlement Mesa and surrounding lands, or the Carbondale and Rural Fire District.

The merged fire authority gives the four communities involved shared control of one fire and emergency services agency that will serve the entire area. It would be governed by board members from the four communities. Tax rates are expected to remain at current levels.

In January, a memorandum of understanding was signed by officials with the four fire agencies, and formed an official steering committee to carry out the recommendations of a consultant's study.

The steering committee includes two representatives from each of the four fire agencies, with a ninth slot filled by Garfield County Commissioner Mike Samson.

On Feb. 4, the steering committee and staff from the fire districts held a workshop to establish the mission, values, purpose, vision and strategic goals of the regional fire authority.

After a full day of discussion, the group agreed on the following mission statement:

"We are dedicated to protect life, home, and property with professional service through leadership, education, and partnerships, with safety as our highest priority."

Information on the merger is posted on each of the department's websites:,,

For more info, email Rifle Fire District staffer Matt Weisbrod at">class="NormalParagraphStyle">

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The Post Independent Updated Feb 15, 2012 04:40PM Published Feb 15, 2012 04:39PM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.