Print New station depends on budget
Written by Mark Lineberger   
Wednesday, 30 March 2011 00:00

The Camp Verde Fire District has had plans for a new fire station in the works for years. The idea isn’t to build a complete replacement for the district’s current facilities, but to add a station, which would help the district better respond to fires and emergencies in different areas of Camp Verde’s sprawling geography. The last new station was built by the district more than three decades ago.

The decision on whether or not to build a new Camp Verde Fire District station on land at the corner of Arena Del Loma and Montezuma Castle Highway has been put on hold.The district has already purchased land off of Arena Del Loma and installed a well. The plans for the new structure are already drawn up, Camp Verde Fire Chief Clayton Young said.

The district has also applied for a $2.3 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to pay for construction.

However, with lower property values potentially leading to lower tax revenue for the district and continued uncertainty in the federal budget, the future of the new station is up in the air at the moment.

“We still haven’t heard back from USDA about the loan,” Young said. “With the federal government operating on a day-to-day budget, there’s no telling what’s going to happen.”

The district still has to deal with its other budget obligations, Young said, and construction of a new station would also require hiring firefighters to staff it.

Young said the CVFD Governing Board would likely discuss the future of the fire station further in a series of budget workshops and meetings scheduled for April when the numbers from the federal government might be more clear.

The district has been operating under the direction of a five-member board since the new system was approved by voters in November. The district formerly operated under a two-person president/secretary system. The new organizational structure brings the district more in line with other fire districts throughout Arizona.

“Overall, it’s been a very smooth transition,” Young said.

One of the new board members, Mike Wingate, resigned in February citing a potential conflict of interest due to his work as a consultant that could potentially do business with the district in the future.

The board will appoint a replacement for Wingate next month.

The district has also worked out a deal with the Town of Camp Verde to help facilitate construction of a new station on Arena Del Loma, whenever that may happen.

The Town Council last year agreed to waive more than $20,000 worth of building permits and $10,000 worth of impact fees for the new station.

Since the town is a government entity, it doesn’t pay taxes to the fire district, said Jack Blum, now an elected fire district board member who was district secretary and treasurer at the time. That means the district has a right to charge the town for services provided, and it has on occasion. But overall, Blum said the district has not charged the town anywhere close to what it could have. Furthermore, Blum said if the town were required to pay taxes like any other member of the district, it would owe nearly $10,000 a year on its 303 properties. Charging the town would be counterproductive to the taxpayers, who already pay taxes to the fire district.