Policy Talk

Belgrade City Manager Ted Barkley, right, makes a point while Central Valley Fire District Chief Ron Lindroth looks on.

City and fire officials will be on hand next week to talk about a pending vote to annex the city of Belgrade into the Central Valley Fire District.

During the last legislative session, Belgrade officials were behind the push to approve a law allowing municipalities to annex into fire districts. Under the  old rule, cities were required to form their own fire department after reaching a population threshold that Belgrade is now up against.

The decision for city voters later this year is whether or not to join the Central Valley Fire District or start a city-run fire department.

City Manager Ted Barkley and Central Valley Fire Chief Ron Lindroth will discuss the matter Jan. 21 at 4 p.m. at the Belgrade Chamber of Commerce.

City officials have said annexing into Central Valley would save the taxpayers millions of dollars rather than forming a stand-alone fire department. 

Right now, the city contracts with Central Valley for service. Annexation would shift the tax burden to residents directly rather than through city coffers. Either way, the tax amount will be the same for most residents, officials said.

Central Valley will continue to be a mix of volunteer and paid firefighters. Annexation would residents to vote for fire board trustees.