FD Consolidation-Bkgd 1Saying it’s more of a matter of survival, several members of the Bullhead City Fire Board want to talk about the possibility of merging the three fire districts along the Colorado River. During their monthly meeting on Tuesday, the fire board directed fire chief Rick Southey to make contact with administrators at the Fort Mojave Mesa and Mohave Valley fire departments to gauge their interest in starting a dialog on the subject of consolidation. “This is not a love story,” said board member Charles Moore. “This is a matter of survival.”  The Bullhead City fire district, which was created in 1947, has struggled to maintain it current level of operations at its five fire stations in recent years due to a 53 percent drop in the assessed valuation of properties within the district. The lower assessed valuation, coupled with state laws that limit the amount the district can levy has led to many operational changes, including the reduction in mandatory staffing requirements, which were implemented last month. Moore referred to legislative efforts that mandate specific changes in the way fire districts raise revenue and the caps imposed on property assessments as reasons to pursue possible consolidation. “Something has to give,” Moore said. Fellow fire board members Steve Buck and Matt Reilly supported Moore’s position. Both said, now was the appropriate time to begin the dialog with the other districts.  Chairman Dave Cummings disagreed with the need to consolidate saying he didn’t believe it was the appropriate course of action for Bullhead City. He, however, was not opposed to having the fire chief make the initial contacts with the other fire department to discuss the issue.  Consolidation of fire districts is not unprecedented  in Mohave County. In 2007, the Hualapai Valley and Valle Vista fire districts consolidated to form what is now known as the Northern Arizona Consolidated Fire District. The following year, the newly merged district also consolidated with the Chloride and Truxton fire districts and now provides emergency services to an area of 65 square miles.  Arizona state law (ARS§48-822) dictates how fire districts can be merged. The governing boards of the proposed districts to be merged could vote to hold an election on the issue. In such an instance only a majority vote would be required from each district to gain approval for the election. The law also allows the district’s to by-pass an election by voting unanimously for consolidation. The 2007 merger between Hualapai Valley and Valle Vista Fire District was approved by unanimous vote by both of those district’s governing boards.