Friday, December 4, 2009

Phil Richardson Discusses The REAL Reason For NWFD/GRFD Consolidation Talks

Our good friend Phil Richardson, almost single handily helped his neighbors in their attempt to get better, safer and less expensive fire service through Mountain Vista Fire District.

Phil tells us what's behind these recent negotiations between NWFD & GRFD. It's all one big "CON."

Please read what Phil has to say.


The words merger and consolidation are used interchangeably by persons unacquainted with what’s going on, but the writer feels that the two Fire Districts are in fact talking consolidation, because the kernel inside the nut that Northwest Fire District wishes to crack is something that the Arizona State Health Department awards sparingly to firms that transport patients: A Certificate of Necessity. Fire folks always refer to it as a CON, and if you’ll forgive the pun, we’ve been conned before.

Before they ceased doing business, Kord’s Ambulance Service had a CON and served a very wide area in Pima County. Southwest Ambulance, a subsidiary of Rural Metro Corporation, now has that CON. It is a very profitable business.

Northwest Fire District does not have a CON. Golder Ranch Fire District has a CON, despite the agreement they signed three years ago with Rural Metro and it’s subsidiary, Southwest Ambulance Service. Northwest FD wants that CON.

Under a merger, the new entity could have a new name, but irrespective of that technicality, the process of the new entity of obtaining a new Certificate of Necessity under a merger is not a done deal. Under consolidation, it would be a far less complicated process. In any case, the Oro Valley Town Council and citizens have a lot of muscle.

The administration of Mountain Vista Fire District avowed this week to me and others that they have had no part in this discussion about either a merger or consolidation with Northwest Fire District, and do not anticipate nor welcome any despite rumors to that effect. They will continue with the $1.25 per $100 of assessed valuation tax rate. We feel that we folks south of Hardy Road have dodged the bullet.

Why would Golder Ranch FD consider this deal for a second? Northwest is about hemmed-in. Golder Ranch Fire District on the other hand, will in the foreseeable near future see many thousands of new homes and many businesses built in the area over which they now have jurisdiction and tax dollars.

What is doubly worrying, is that these quasi-governmental bodies are constantly trying to do things below the radar screen like raising their tax rates and most of us cannot name one member on their respective Fire District Board if their life depended on it. We need to vote in less compliant Board Members and closely monitor what they’re doing.

-Phil Richardson

1 comment:

The Zee Man said...

Thanks for the head up Phil. We know we're going to get taken. We just don't know how to fix it.