Consolidation of Two Local Fire Districts in Arizona Includes Firefighters, Administrative Staff

The two districts have worked together for more than a year with technological support, fleet services and training.

by Curt Prendergast, The Arizona Daily Star, Tucson / July 21, 2017

(TNS) -- Two local fire districts have consolidated to meet a state-mandated deadline.

The Golder Ranch Fire District will absorb the Mountain Vista Fire District, Golder Ranch said in a news release last week. The two districts have worked together for more than a year with technological support, fleet services and training. The new consolidation includes firefighters, administrative staff, and the elimination of Mountain Vista as a separate entity.

Golder Ranch encompasses 222 square miles in Oro Valley, Catalina, SaddleBrooke, and southern Pinal County, with eight stations and 192 employees. Mountain Vista covers 19 square miles in northern Pima County, Marana, and parts of Oro Valley, with two stations and 60 employees.

“This consolidation will help us to continue to put our community first by providing exceptional services and efficient response times,” said Mountain Vista Fire Chief Cheryl Horvath.

The governing boards for the districts voted last week to approve the consolidation, said Golder Ranch spokeswoman Anne-Marie Braswell.

Residents in the Mountain Vista area who call 911 may see Golder Ranch firefighters and paramedics during the next few months, but residents will not see any other changes in responses to their calls, Braswell said.

The districts had discussed the consolidation for more than a year, but a new law hastened the process, the Arizona Daily Star reported in May.

Gov. Doug Ducey signed House Bill 2414 in April. As of Aug. 9, the law will restrict the use of a document that is necessary for fire districts to provide ambulance services.

Golder Ranch has a certificate of necessity, which is required of ambulance operators and is issued by the state's Department of Health Services. But Mountain Vista does not have a certificate and has depended on private ambulance service since the district was formed in 2008.

Under the previous law, a merger or consolidation of two districts expanded the boundaries of the certificate, but the new law no longer allows for that.

No job losses are expected under the consolidation. District tax rates will remain the same for Golder Ranch residents and Mountain Vista residents will see a slight decrease.

©2017 The Arizona Daily Star (Tucson, Ariz.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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