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Council, RFD talk long-term contract
Monroe Fire Dept

MONROE — A two-and-a-half hour conversation was held June 10 between members of the Monroe Common Council and officials of the Monroe Rural Fire Department as the groups negotiate a long-term contract for fire protection.

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. 

Tracy Signer, the chairman of the RFD, said recently in the Times that town residents couldn’t afford to pay for fire protection based on property value.

The towns began to look into providing their own fire protection, but a renewed effort at coming up with a long-term contract has brought the parties together again. Signer has said the council’s effort to consider other options and approach negotiations was positive.

After Wednesday’s meeting, Monroe Mayor Louis Armstrong said he was “hopeful” that eventually a long-term contract will be reached. He said the city has a considerable amount of information to collect before it can discuss formal contract details with the RFD.

“The concept is we’re trying to come up with a greater definition of numbers we had before,” Armstrong said. “We’re gathering more data to have a better discussion with the RFD folks.”

Armstrong said the extended meeting was necessary as the city looks for “refined, clarified and updated” information on which to enter formal negotiations. The meeting June 10 was held largely in open session with a smaller portion held in closed session, so the council could discuss what it planned to do next, Armstrong said.

“I feel good about the process,” Armstrong said after the meeting.

Armstrong said scheduling a future meeting between the council and RFD is in the works, but the exact date has not yet been settled.