Chloride may have to provide its own firefighters

KINGMAN - Chloride residents and the Northern Arizona Consolidated Fire District will discuss the community's fire coverage from 6 to 8 p.m. today at the Maggie Day Center, next to the Chloride Baptist Church in Chloride.

NACFD Fire Chief Patrick Moore will attend.

"The meeting is in response to a petition that several townspeople circulated this past summer," said Irene Weber, a citizen of Chloride, in an email. "Many townspeople are upset and feel abandoned by NACFD. When Chloride Fire District, Hualapai Valley Fire District and Truxton Fire District consolidated in 2008, the promise was that the new entity, NACFD, would provide 24/7 coverage to Chloride residents, which was scaled back to very low coverage."

Residents understand that, since the economic downturn, NACFD and other fire districts in Arizona are suffering a substantial revenue drop, Weber said. Part of that drop is attributed to a tax levy cap implemented before 2008 as well as Proposition 117, which requires fire districts to tax on the limited value of a property versus the full cash value.

"After they consolidated, we were subsidizing a firefighter out there," said Moore.

"With the downturn, we couldn't do that anymore."

Under NACFD's current budget, money generated in a given area must stay in that area. According to Moore, the Chloride area is generating around $25,000 a year.

While that's not enough to pay for a full-time firefighter in Chloride, there are options for part-time personnel. That does require some assistance from the community, said Moore.

"At some level, the rural communities, these small communities, the solution out there is that people are going to have to go to school to become firefighters. We'll help provide you the training. You just need to provide the individuals willing and able to do it," said Moore.

This meeting comes just after the NACFD board of directors voted not to consolidate with another rural fire district, Lake Mohave Ranchos, based in Dolan Springs.

That district is now looking to re-establish a fire chief and board of directors.