Morton Mayor Dan Mortensen made the case Monday morning for combining his city’s fire and emergency services with Lewis County Fire District 4, at the Lewis County Board of Commissioners’ regular meeting, at which the board endorsed a Feb. 13 special election that would allow citizens to decide the fate of the proposal.
Mortensen said that the merger of services has been under consideration for the past 6 to 8 years.
The resolution detailing the consolidation reports that the City of Morton’s growth has created a greater demand for critical fire and emergency services that would be afforded by the annexation.
The resolution states that Morton’s intent to annex its fire and emergency services into Lewis County would enhance the “efficiency and effectiveness” of public fire protection.
“Years and years ago, they formed Morton District No. 4 and Lewis County (Fire) District No. 4 and they joined in one building and basically performed one service,” Mortensen said. “Over the years, that evolved to the point where the city fire district just basically melded into (Lewis County) Fire District 4. Fire District No. 4 purchased all the fire equipment … so that’s been in the works for a considerable amount of time.”
Following the meeting, Mortensen told The Chronicle that February’s special election process would be the last step before the annexation becomes official since it has already been reviewed at the city level.
A series of “informational meetings” may follow a vote to approve the annexation, Mortensen added, in order to make residents better aware of all the forthcoming changes that would result from the merger of Lewis County Fire District 4 and the City of Morton’s fire and emergency services into one district.