CEDAR CITY — Cedar City is expected to approve a new interlocal fire protection agreement, allowing local departments to share the costs of fire services.

In this file photo, Cedar City Fire Chief Mike Phillips gives a speech, Cedar City, Utah, Sept. 10, 2021 | Photo by Jeff Richards, Cedar City News

The Cedar City Fire Department has partnered with various local entities for about 55 years to provide fire-protection services to Iron County, including Enoch, Kanarraville and the county, according to the council packet.

Nearly $9 billion of property is protected in that area, Cedar City Fire Chief Mike Phillips told Cedar City News.

In 2018, the department determined it was necessary to enter into a new agreement to account for changes to service, equipment and personnel, as well as skyrocketing prices and a need for new facilities, the packet states.

The Interlocal Fire Protection Agreement accounts for these changes, and all involved departments share the cost burden of fire protection, including equipment preservation and purchasing, the packet reads. On Wednesday, Phillips presented the newest document, as the agreement was due for a five-year review.

While previous agreements had become inequitable due to growth throughout the county, according to the new contract, each entity will pay a proportionate share of the market taxable value of its property, according to the packet.

In this file photo, smoke billows from the wreckage of a large garage following a fire near Kanarraville, Utah, Nov. 19, 2023 | Photo by Alysha Lundgren, Cedar City News

The document featured several other changes, including mechanisms to account for inflationary impacts on required purchases and a building fund, which would set aside money to build new facilities.

The annual contribution amount for the building fund would be set by Cedar City Council during its yearly budgeting process, with an initial amount set to $425,0000.

“In this agreement, I was just trying to put a number that says, ‘Hey, we’re going to start putting some skin in the game to help purchase future buildings,’” Phillips said. “If you look at this over a five-year period, it’s going to produce about $1.5 million.”

Additionally, the document creates an Interlocal Fire Advisory Committee, formalizing the process of requesting funds through the agreement to make purchases. Iron County, Enoch and Kanarraville contribute approximately 41% of the partnership’s yearly budget, Phillips said, adding that all entities benefit from the “symbiotic” relationship the agreement established.

The Kanarraville Fire Department received this brush truck from the Cedar City Fire Department, Cedar City, Utah, date unspecified | Photo courtesy of the Cedar City Fire Chief Mike Phillips, Cedar City News

For instance, whenever the Cedar City Fire Department purchases new equipment, the resulting excess is offered to interlocal partners. Recently, the department gave a brush truck to the Kanarraville Fire Department.

“Our partners have been great to work with,” Phillips said.

The Cedar City Council added the item to next week’s consent agenda, where it is expected to be approved simultaneously with various other items.

Phillips said the Enoch City Council approved the agreement, and Kanarraville gave verbal approval, while Iron County Commissioners gave written approval, which they expect to formalize at a later date.

“It’s a step in the right direction to get our partners to step up on some of the cost of facilities,” Councilmember Tyler Melling said.

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