Employees go unpaid at fire district serving Dolan Springs, Meadview
Board of Supervisors Chairman Gary Watson
1/27/2013 6:00:00 AM
By Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa
Mohave County officials are working with representatives from the Lake Mohave Ranchos Fire District in an effort to stabilize the district after it was unable to pay its employees on Thursday.
Board of Supervisors Chairman Gary Watson said the county has been trying to help the district resolve the situation since he was notified two weeks ago by the district board and the fire chief that the district only had enough money to cover one payroll for the month of January.
Watson said the county won't know how bad the districts financial situation is until Monday, when the members of the fire district board will meet with county officials and present additional financial information.
According to state statute, the county has no jurisdiction over fire districts and the county is under no obligation to help the district out, Watson said.
However, both Watson and Acting County Manager Mike Hendrix are concerned about the safety of the residents who live in the district. The district includes Meadview, Dolan Springs and most of U.S. 93 north of Dolan Springs.
"It's a unique district with a compounding number of issues," Watson said. The district covers a huge, sparsely populated area, has a very small tax base and has to deal with high speed accidents on U.S. 93 and Pierce Ferry Road.
Representatives from the district met with Watson, Hendrix, District 4 Supervisor Joy Brotherton, Golden Valley Fire Chief Tom O'Donohue, Northern Consolidated Fire Chief Patrick Moore, the County's Emergency Management Coordinator Byron Steward and the Office of Management and Budget Director Gene Hepler Thursday to discuss the situation.
A second meeting has been set for Monday in order to give the fire district more time to present additional financial information and give the county and the other fire districts time to research options.