"I want it noted that we were the first city to approve it," said Woods Cross Mayor Jerry Larrabee. However, North Salt Lake's council also approved it Tuesday night.
The city approved the agreement, which creates one fire department out of the Bountiful City Fire Depart-ment and South Davis Fire District. In addition to Woods Cross, participants include Bountiful, North Salt Lake, West Bountiful, Centerville and the remaining unincorporated area of South Davis County.
The agency becomes effective when all participants have signed the agreement. For the other cities, that should be Sept. 21, with the county signing on Sept. 28.
The two fire departments already operate under a mutual aid agreement which allows the closest entity to respond to a fire, even if it's not in their jurisdiction.
The entities have been heavily involved in planning for consolidation for more than a year, although the idea has been bandied around for about a decade. The consolidation is looked upon by many as the precursor to the agency becoming a true taxing district, much like the South Davis Sewer District or the Mosquito Abatement District.
Under the agreement, hammered out by Davis County and the cities, in addition to fire service, the new agency will provide paramedic service, beginning in 2005. Initially, the agency will have two paramedic units operating in South Davis County.
The new agency will be governed by a board of directors comprised of one member from each participating entity. Those on the board must be part of the entity's governing body.
That had been a point of contention for some. WoodsCross council member Jon Hadlow expressed concern that a city employee or resident could be appointed to the board. That portion of the agreement was rewritten to specify a member of the entity's governing body.
Each participating entity will pay a proportional share of the cost of running the agency, based on the fiscal year budget for the agency.
All current buildings and equipment owned by either department will become the property of the agency.
Bountiful City will initially be given $3.1 million credit for its new main fire station. After the credit has been used, Bountiful will pay it share of assessments.
Under the agreement a fire chief will be chosen to operate the agency. A national search will be held to find that person. Currently, Bountiful City and South Davis each has a fire chief. Employees of the two fire departments will be offered employment in the agency.
Additional fire stations will be needed as the population increases.
One future station will likely be built west of the interstate in Woods Cross and another in the foothills of North Salt Lake. The current SDFD station 81, on 400 North and 500 West in West Bountiful will likely be closed.