logo-smallernorthern-arizona-consolidated-fire-district-1-logo.jpgMohave County is escorting two rural fire districts to the altar. The possible marriage and merger comes a little more than two years after the Lake Mohave Ranchos Fire District (LMRFD) was on the brink of bankruptcy.

It was February of 2013 when the Board of Supervisors appointed John Flynn as special administrator while disbanding the LMRFD’s elected governing board. Flynn inherited a district that was more than $750,000 in debt as he slashed personnel, cut cost and service, liquidated assets and contracted with the Kingman-based Northern Arizona Consolidated Fire District (NACFD) to provide bare bones service to the district serving the communities of Meadview and Dolan Springs and beyond.

Flynn told county supervisors during their March 16 Board meeting that the LMRFD has eliminated its debt service and is ready to begin the next fiscal year with its books balanced. Rather than continuing as administrator or going back to an elected board and governing structure, Flynn urged the board to pursue a consolidation with the larger, more stable NACFD.

“You get the efficiencies of scale from that,” Flynn said. “A larger fire district typically is able to attract professional managers and professional staff which keeps the district financially stable and afloat.”

Flynn said that the leadership of Fire Chief Pat Moore and a veteran board well positions NACFD for taking in the LMRFD.

“It’s (NACFD) very well managed and governed and financially stable,” Flynn said. “They’ve consolidated other fire districts into the Northern Arizona Consolidated Fire District in the past.”

The Board approved Flynn’s recommendation and directed county staff to work with appropriate parties to work to achieve consolidation. Supervisor  Buster Johnson, however, said he thinks LMRFD taxpayers should make the decision rather than county officials.

Flynn said residents of the LMRFD have been supportive when informed of the proposed consolidation move. Flynn said public input will be accepted during information hearings and meetings in both districts and that the consolidation must be approved by NACFD board members.

Flynn said the consolidation could possibly be formally approved and implemented sometime this summer.