Sun may set on Utah city’s volunteer fire department

Posted at 10:05 PM, May 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-11 00:21:43-04

SUNSET, Utah -- For 61 years, the Sunset City Fire Department has been staffed with volunteers.

"The day that I had to stand before the fire chief and raise my hand and swear that I would protect this community, is the day that I knew I was doing something good," said Interim Fire Chief Anthony Bott.

The fire station, with two engines and two ambulances, is staffed 24 hours a day. The station's crews went on 580 calls in 2016. In 2017, the station was averaging about 40 calls per month.

Tuesday could prove to be the last call for the firefighters who call Sunset City Fire home.

"The choices are to go with North Davis or to continue running our fire department," said Sunset City Mayor Beverly Macfarlane.

The city is considering shuttering it's fire service and paying for services from North Davis Fire District. The estimate from North Davis Fire District for 2018 is $169,097.

The city would also lose roughly $135,000 in revenue collected from ambulance fees, putting the total at $304,097. The cost to continue running the volunteer fire department in 2018 is $279,591.

"It's really close," said Mayor Macfarlane.

She would like to see the community weigh-in on the decision but says when she asked the city council to hold a public hearing, council members told her it was not necessary.

"They determined that they are the council and that they have been elected to vote for their constituents.... they chose not to have a hearing," said Mayor Macfarlane.

The mayor only gets to vote if the city council is tied. Tuesday, the council has it on their agenda to make a decision.

In the meantime, if the public does want to weigh in, Mayor Macfarlane is asking people to call the city, city councilors or to make their voice heard online. All of the the numbers can be found on the city's website.

"The thank you's that we get, the random acts of just bringing a card or a plate of cookies or whatever to these guys, I know this community loves us," Bott said.

He's hoping some of that community love will show up and speak up before next Tuesday's vote.