City, fire district start merger talks
Talks that both sides hope will lead unification of the departments have started between the city of De Soto and Johnson County Rural Fire District No. 3.
At last Thursday's De Soto City Council meeting, De Soto City Administrator Pat Guilfoyle said he and council members Tim Maniez and Betty Cannon met Oct. 16 with representatives of the fire district.
The city and fire district agreed last year to the framework of an agreement that would merge the two departments. The agreement would create a new board with representative appointed by the city and the district to govern the newly created district. Any agreement would have to be approved by the Johnson County Commission.
Early discussions involved the creation of a mock budget for the merged district, Guilfoyle said. He would meet with the chiefs of the two departments Friday to work on the mock budget, he said.
It appeared little savings would be realized in personnel or operational expenses from the merger, but insurance was expected to be cheaper, Maniez said.
The budget is the easy part of the merger, Maniez said. The more difficult piece would involve personnel issues and the development of a command structure. Those issues have derailed past efforts to merge the two departments, he said.
Discussion of the command structure and personnel issues wouldn't start until after the first of the year, Guilfoyle said.
In other business, the council:
- Approved the issuance of $705,000 in temporary notes for the first phase development of the Kaw river front park. Guilfoyle said two contracts would be bid for the first phase. The first bid would be for work early next year on clearing and grading at the site. That would be followed with a bid for the construction phase, he said.
UMB Bank was the winning bidder for the notes with 3.58 percent interest.
- Approved the final plat for Snowy Acres, a 15-acre, seven-lot development west of Corliss Road and north of 86th Street. The joint developers, Steven and Nancy Jarboe and Rick Hollingsworth, agreed not to oppose a future benefit district for maintenance, safety and capacity improvements to Corliss Road.
- Approved a resolution in support of a Transportation Enhancement Grant for streetscape improvements to downtown De Soto.