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  1. #1
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    Default Monett Rural at it again

    When Purdy forced the issue of letting a house burn then pushing for a fire district Monett Rural tries to screw everybody and take area.


    June 12, 2006



    The above map shows approximately the borders what the Monett Rural Fire Association considers to be its historic territory, where it currently has members. Monett is in the upper center. Pierce City is at upper left. Purdy is at bottom center, just below the red line. The association is asking the Barry County Circuit Court to stop the August 8 election that would take away some of this territory and place it into a tax supported fire district within the Purdy Rural Fire Association.




    Monett Rural Fire Association goes to court
    Seeks to stop August 8 election on Purdy Fire Protection District
    Murray Bishoff
    Managing Editor

    Published June 12, 2006 4:00 PM CDT

    Attorney says board wants court to draw borders for competing organizations


    In an extraordinary move that has potential long-term ramifications, the Monett Rural Fire Association will be in Barry County Associate Circuit Court today, seeking to block the August 8 election to establish a tax supported rural fire district around Purdy.

    The action coincides with a filing in Lawrence County Circuit Court on Wednesday, asking the court to formally draw a border to organize the Monett Rural Fire Association District. However, this is not, as it would appear, a move to establish a tax supported fire district around Monett, but an effort to keep the current voluntary system in place.

    John Woodard, attorney for the Monett Rural Fire Association, said the action in Barry County today will seek to combine the two cases and get them in front of Circuit Judge J. Edward Sweeney. The Barry County filing goes before Associate Judge Carr Woods, who signed off on the May 12 petition by the Purdy Rural Fire Association to allow a public vote forming a tax supported fire district for Purdy that coincides with the borders of the Purdy R-2 school district.

    All of this has been an outgrowth of the controversy that erupted in February of this year when the Monett Rural Fire Association did not fight the fire at the property of Bilbaldo Rueda. Unprecedented national media coverage brought enormous criticism on the voluntary firefighting organization. Like other membership supported firefighting organizations, the Monett Rural Fire Association operates largely like an insurance company, fighting fires where dues--or premiums--have been paid, and standing by elsewhere, though firemen will intervene if it is feared that a life may be in danger.

    Rueda was injured trying to fight his fire while fire association firefighters and the trucks stood by on Farm Road 1090

    Later in February, as a response to that incident, the Purdy Rural Fire Association, also a membership supported entity, announced it would accept memberships up to the Monett city limits. In addition, Chief Mike Redshaw said his policy was to fight fires of non-members and send a bill for services to the property owner, contrary to what the Monett Rural Association does.

    In May, the Purdy City Council opted for another strategy, and approved seeking voter approval to establish a fire district that would be supported by property taxes, using the same borders as the Purdy R-2 school district. This would end the necessity of seeking memberships, as all property owners would be subject to taxation, and thus would receive services regardless of previous arrangements.

    The borders of the R-2 school district would not come nearly as close to Monett either, starting at approximately Midway (County Road BB), extending east past McDowell and west around the south side of Pulaskifield, and southwest to the Wheaton school district.

    Yet that border is exactly what the Monett Rural Fire Association objects to. In fact, attorney Woodard expressed some frustration that Judge Woods approved a vote for the Purdy proposal without informing the Monett association or allowing input in opposition.

    "We feel they have infringed on the historical district we have," Woodard said.

    The "historical district", from which the Monett association has taken memberships, was drawn out in a legal description in the filing in Lawrence County Circuit Court last week. It covers a very large area. It runs to the Newton County border along Highway 60, then south into Barry County to Farm Road 2090, encompassing Pioneer, about two-and-a-half miles further west than the Purdy school district runs.

    The border then goes east to Farm Road 2065--about a mile-and-a-half west of Purdy. From there it runs around Purdy to the north on Farm Road 2075, to County Road WW--two miles further east than the Purdy school district goes. It runs north on WW**three miles east of Pleasant Ridge, and north into Lawrence County.

    The Lawrence County portion runs around Verona--about a mile to the south and a mile-and-a-half west on Farm Road 1130, two miles closer to Verona on the west than the Monett school district goes. From there, the border runs west along Farm Road 2200. It jogs north for two miles on Farm Road 2190, a mile south of the Mt. Olivet Church, then goes south to Highway 60 on Farm Road 1050--a mile west of the traditional divide between Monett and Pierce City school districts at Highway PP.

    Towns were formally excluded from Monett's proposed territory.

    The point of the filing, Woodard said, is for the court to draw a boundary for fire protection, rather than leave it up to voters and which entity asked for a public vote first.

    Why such a large territory for Monett? "We asked for so much to include all the participating territory we had historically," Woodard said. "You don't get it unless you ask for it."

    However, Woodard said, the Monett Rural Association is not asking for a public vote or for the powers of taxation. On the contrary, Woodard said the Monett Rural Association board is adamant about maintaining itself entirely as a voluntary organization, continuing to accept memberships and operating as it has always done.

    Objections to a tax supported district have always been the imposition of taxation, usually hitting large property owners like farmers the hardest. Memberships have been voluntary, and involved a flat fee, not a sliding scale based on assessed valuations.

    Woodard did not know if a voluntary rural fire association had ever asked a court to draw its borders before. "We're going to try. Our hope is to have a hearing on the two districts. If so, the court may reduce our boundaries, or Purdy's. We're not sure."

    The action does not come entirely without precedent. The Barry County Emergency Services Board, which is setting up the county-wide "911" system, has already announced its intentions to draw borders for all fire service organizations within the county, determining for voluntary associations who would get service from whom. It is not clear whether any decision made by the Emergency Services Board could even be appealed in court.

    Woodard hoped that by staying as a voluntary organization, Monett's petition to the court would avoid any conflict over borders with Pierce City, Freistatt, and Verona, and the Mt. Vernon tax supported fire district.

    Pierce City Rural Fire Association Chief Daryl Fenski did not view Monett's action as all that benign. "What worries me about that is the next step is tax support. If a judge says, 'Let's establish a [tax supported] border on those lines,' that puts us out."

    Fenski told The Times at the present time, there are property owners in the Pulaskfield area who have come to the Pierce City association due to what they viewed as a lack of response from Monett. He noted Monett's proposal would even take in one of the Pierce City rural association's stations. He intended to alert the Pierce City association's attorney, the one used when the Sarcoxie Rural Fire Association proposed closer borders, and be ready to offer input at any upcoming hearing on borders.

    For his part, Fenski said he has always supported establishing tax supported districts along the lines of the school districts. "If there is any dead area after that, we would divide it up," he added. Fenski said he had long been in what he had thought was close contact with Monett Rural Chief Ronnie Myers, and had asked for the two organizations to sit down and talk borders before either ever went to court or to the voters. He felt frustrated the current action had been taken without those talks happening. "This is bad politics. It costs everybody money for an attorney."

    The last time a fire district had been proposed adjacent to Monett was in 2001, when the Aurora Rural Fire Association sought to set up a district around Verona and south to McDowell, including part of the Pleasant Ridge territory where the Monett Rural Fire Association has members. Judge Sweeney's solution at the time was to let voters decide.

    That proposal was defeated. So was a tax supported rural fire district around Mt. Vernon, which passed on a second try in a smaller area.

    Woodard said in regard to Purdy, "We would have preferred to work something out voluntarily. We're hoping to have some standing with the court" with the petition to stop an election that has already been authorized.







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  2. #2
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Thumbs down What A Mess...............

    I think the only thing that will straighten this out is an East Coast guy with a BIG club and a bad attitude. THIS is another example of why I'm always shooting at people who won't put the Fire out when they arrive. Immediately. No Excuses. It appears that the Monett folks care about everything but putting out Fires. I'm still in favor of Federal Legislation that would prohibit Subscription type organizations from being involved in Emergency Services.
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
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    Forum Member MIKEYLIKESIT's Avatar
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    Default Harve

    Somebody has to pay the bills. A property owner who dosent pay for fire protection gets exactly what he deserves.
    IAFF-IACOJ PROUD

  4. #4
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Post Absolutely.............

    Quote Originally Posted by MIKEYLIKESIT
    Somebody has to pay the bills. A property owner who dosent pay for fire protection gets exactly what he deserves.
    We agree on that Mike, But, I see no excuse whatsoever why the taxpayers should not be funding Fire Protection for every square inch of America. Your department, and mine, roll on every call, we do not ask if the property owner has paid up, and neither should these clowns.
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
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    Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
    Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

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    Forum Member MIKEYLIKESIT's Avatar
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    Default

    I agree with you. 100 percent. This should include funding for rural departments that protect federally/state owned land as well.
    IAFF-IACOJ PROUD

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    Forum Member Lewiston2FF's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MIKEYLIKESIT
    I agree with you. 100 percent. This should include funding for rural departments that protect federally/state owned land as well.
    Not to shift the topic any further, but what about those FDs that have an Indian reservation as part of their response territory? Native americans do not pay taxes (not a debate I want to get into here) and therefore technically do not pay for the fire protection they get. The reservation is not federal or state land, in reality it is a soverign nation.

    We get some federal money for the fire protection we provide, but I am not sure that is the right way to do it, should you be paying for my FD to be providing fire protection to the native americans here in Niagara County? No.

    I agree that everyone should pay for fire protection. I also agree that everyone in this nation should receive fire protection, but what about those people I listed above? What do we do there?
    Shawn M. Cecula
    Firefighter
    IACOJ Division of Fire and EMS

  7. #7
    Forum Member pkfd7505's Avatar
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    The days of membership depts are numbered and I applaude Purdy for trying to better their dept and their community. If Monett does not want other departments to take their area then they need to form their own tax district. Purdy has the legal right to request any boundries when they petition to form a district unless the areas are currently covered by another tax district. Once a district is established then changing those boundreis takes on a whole new meaning. All the legal info can be found here My question to Monett is, what do the voters in those contested areas want? If the voters in that area want to join the tax based district then they should be allowed to. I can forsee allot fo mudslinging during this vote. Good luck Purdy!

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  8. #8
    Forum Member pkfd7505's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lewiston2Capt
    Not to shift the topic any further, but what about those FDs that have an Indian reservation as part of their response territory? Native americans do not pay taxes (not a debate I want to get into here) and therefore technically do not pay for the fire protection they get. The reservation is not federal or state land, in reality it is a soverign nation.

    We get some federal money for the fire protection we provide, but I am not sure that is the right way to do it, should you be paying for my FD to be providing fire protection to the native americans here in Niagara County? No.

    I agree that everyone should pay for fire protection. I also agree that everyone in this nation should receive fire protection, but what about those people I listed above? What do we do there?
    What if they were to fund their own protection, don't they provide their own law enforcement? Fire protection could be governed the same way.

    PKFPD
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  9. #9
    Forum Member Lewiston2FF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pkfd7505
    What if they were to fund their own protection, don't they provide their own law enforcement? Fire protection could be governed the same way.
    This is not the typical Indian reservation, they are only approximately 9.3 square miles and not populated enough to provide their own police protection. The town police, county sheriffs and state police cover the area with the state police having the bulk of the jurisdictional load.

    Here is a map of the area from 1890. Some has changed since then. LOL but for the most part the roads are still there with the exception of the road that runs east to west across the center of the map, it now terminates at the north south road due to the niagara power project reservoir.

    If you click here you can see the demographics of the reservation as of 2000. It is a unique situation.
    Shawn M. Cecula
    Firefighter
    IACOJ Division of Fire and EMS

  10. #10
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    On the point of Native Indian Reservations, back home they are considered Federal lands, and as such I believe (do not quote this LOL) that while we might be called to a fire there, it becomes the equivialant of a Provincial event like a wildland fire, and we are required to seek authority (although its usually given at time of event, I think) from PEP - Provincial Emergency Preparedness office, and get a PEP number to charge expenses. This is, as I understand it because a fire on the Reservation is considered a mutual aid call.

    Folks like MCaldwell and a few others will be able to help out here, I hope {trying not to dig in too deeply with the excavator - where'd those Engineers get to? LOL}

    As for the content of the story, I wonder when folks will come out of the Dark Ages, and move into the Light?
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  11. #11
    Forum Member pkfd7505's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lewiston2Capt
    This is not the typical Indian reservation, they are only approximately 9.3 square miles and not populated enough to provide their own police protection. The town police, county sheriffs and state police cover the area with the state police having the bulk of the jurisdictional load.

    Here is a map of the area from 1890. Some has changed since then. LOL but for the most part the roads are still there with the exception of the road that runs east to west across the center of the map, it now terminates at the north south road due to the niagara power project reservoir.

    If you click here you can see the demographics of the reservation as of 2000. It is a unique situation.
    Humm interesting delima Kemosabe, well then I would have to say that the best plan of action in this situation would be for them to fall under the jurisdiction of the local district and the funding should be paid by whichever entity subsidises the reservation.

    PKFPD
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    Quote Originally Posted by hwoods
    I'm still in favor of Federal Legislation that would prohibit Subscription type organizations from being involved in Emergency Services.
    The 10th amendment prevents that. Not that the federal legislators care any more but it is still on paper at least.

    Go to your state legislature instead.

    Out West here, fire protection for every square inch of vast, uninhabited land would be quite an undertaking. Better for those that need it to take it upon themselves to develop it, rather than having the Federal Government force something awful on everyone.

    Birken

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    removed by poster
    Last edited by Catch22; 07-15-2006 at 09:51 AM.

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