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September 23, 2008 3:01 am

Frannie-Deaver fire district to roll in December

Written by Tribune Staff

Despite skepticism from some, Big Horn Fire Protection District No. 5 will begin fire protection in the Frannie-Deaver area in December, a District 5 spokesman said.

“We're actually beginning on Dec. 15,” said Craig Sorenson, Deaver, chairman of a joint powers board aimed at making a smooth transition to a new district.

Trucks may be rolling by the holidays, but the actual district will not be official until the new year.

The Big Horn District 5 is not a new district, but rather a detraction from Park County Fire District No. 1.

Representatives of the Frannie-Deaver district were late getting paperwork, including a legal description and map, to the Wyoming Department of Revenue. Due in January of this year, the paperwork did not arrive until March.

“It's not that we fell down on the job,” Sorenson said.

A public hearing hosted by the Big Horn County commissioners to approve or deny a district detraction from Powell did not occur until March 5, Sorenson said.

The commissioners OK'd the detraction, but a legal district could not exist until the commissioners formally approved it.

“It's a timing issue,” Sorenson said. “We didn't have a district to file boundaries with.”

Consequently, District No. 1 must respond to fires and emergencies in the Frannie-Deaver area until No. 5 gets its first revenue check from Park County in December of 2009, said Dan Laursen, president of the Park County Fire District No. 1 board.

The boundaries are the same as the Frannie-Deaver Cemetery District. Most of the district is in Big Horn County, Sorenson said.

The new fire department is due $47,256, based on Park County valuation, said Park County Assessor Doug “Rip” Brandt.

Brandt said the valuation would be a little different next year, but still would remain within the $47,000 range.
Assessed valuation from Big Horn County would net the district an additional $56,632, said Big Horn County Deputy Assessor Gay Cariveau.

Frannie is on the county line, with Park County on the west of U.S. 310 and Big Horn County to the east of the line.

Fire protection contracts will be signed with the towns of Frannie and Deaver, Sorenson said.

The district board approved 20 firefighters. So far, 17 firefighters are onboard, with a few more expected to sign up this fall, Sorenson said.

“We have a bunch of excited guys over here,” Sorenson said.

Park County Fire District No. 1 provided two fire trucks and one support truck that fills air packs. It also provided 12 full sets of bunkers (coats, boots and overalls firefighters wear), pagers, a few hand-held radios, a base radio and extra fire hose, Sorenson said.

Making the detraction happen has spanned several years of angst in Powell and the Frannie area.

“We put in a lot of time and effort to do this right,” Sorenson said. “We just need to get this behind us.”

Laursen said he believes, personally, that it would behoove the new district board to visit with the Park County District 1 board to iron out details.
To Laursen, it all boils down to liability, just as it did in the fall of 2005, when the Powell board closed the fire hall in Frannie.

District No. 1 did not want to be responsible for any accidents by the Frannie-Deaver firefighters then — and the same holds true today.

“We are not going to be liable for them,” Laursen said.

Legally, Laursen said it might be enough if the Big Horn County commissioners provide official confirmation that District No. 1 no longer is responsible for the Frannie-Deaver area.