Sunset votes to close Fire Department

Posted at 9:56 PM, May 16, 2017

SUNSET, Utah - In a town of just over 5,000 people, it is rare when 500 show up for a city council meeting. 

At the Sunset City council meeting Tuesday night, more than 200 packed the room and overflow room for one issue: whether or not to keep the Sunset City Fire Department.

"I have seen the great men and women of the fire department," said Sunset City resident Leah Cumro.

Nearly every speaker who came to the podium during the public comment period made similar statements of support for the fire department.

"Nobody can beat Sunset Fire Department response times to Sunset residents," said Allison Jackson, a Sunset City resident.

At times the stories became personal.

"Three years ago, my daughter had an anaphylactic reaction to cats that we did not know existed. It took this fire department less than three minutes to get to her," said Michelle Argyle, a Sunset City resident.

Maurlene Nelson, a Sunset City resident commended the fire department for saving her grandmother's life.

"My grandmother had a stroke and she was in the bathroom and it was locked and I couldn't get into her the fire department was there in just a matter of minutes," said Nelson.

The Sunset City Fire Department has been in existence for 61 years. It is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, primarily with volunteers.

The Sunset City council started exploring the idea of asking if the city could be annexed into North Davis Fire District, in part, to save money. The fire department is facing a deficit and taxes will need to be raised to keep it open. The council also advised residents at the meeting, taxes will need to be raised if the city gets service from North Davis Fire District.

"I'm willing to give up that candy bar a day or Coke to keep them here," said Nelson.

Jackson responded to the cost of keeping the fire department as it currently operates.

"I am OK paying the increase, I think it's worth it," said Jackson.

After more than an hour of public comment, with all but one speakers asking the council to keep the fire department a vote was called. By a four to one margin, the council voted to dump their own fire department and ask North Davis Fire District to annex the city.

"I am livid. I am almost speechless. We were completely ignored as the residents of this city," said Argyle.

The governing board for North Davis Fire District still has to have its own vote on annexing Sunset City as part of its service area.