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Council revisits RFD discussion
Monroe Fire Dept

MONROE — The Monroe Common Council revisited its discussion to extend the rural fire district’s contract for 2021 during its regular meeting July 6. 

After the most recent long-term contract ended in 2019, there have been two six-month extensions approved for the Monroe Fire Department to provide protection to the rural fire district, which includes the towns of Monroe and Clarno. Earlier this year the towns turned down a long-term contract that was based on charging residents for fire protection based on equalized property tax value. The city charges its residents based on the equalized property value for fire protection. 

The council approved a 10% increase during a special meeting June 29, but the matter still needs consideration from the RFD. 

The proposal was met with both opposition and agreement from members of the council, the community and the RFD during the meeting. 

Chad Spotts of Monroe Township spoke against the proposal, saying that equalized value will not benefit rural residents in the same way as those who live in town.

“I mean it works for the schools, it works for the roads, it works for things like that,” Spotts said. “Our kids all go to the same schools, but we don’t see the same benefit of the fire department that the town does. The town has to incur more of the cost if you want to do this.”

Spotts was met with understanding from some members of the council, with others still hoping to find a long-term resolution that all parties can agree on.

“When I say fair and equitable, I don’t know that we’ve defined that,” Alder Kelly Hermanson said. “I think your points are well made… Not equal as in equal pieces of pie, but equitable… so that all parties feel that it is a fair contract.”’

In other matters, the board

Approved the Behring Senior Center’s post COVID-19 pandemic reopening plan. The plan involves hiring new staff to work at $12 an hour for 19.5 hours per week.