» Council OK with M’burg fire deal


A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Council OK with M’burg fire deal

Written December 11th, 2017 by Hasso Hering

This street is in the part of Millersburg now covered by the Jefferson Rural Fire Protection District. (File photo from May 2015)

The Albany City Council Monday had no objections to contracting with Millersburg for fire protection covering all of the smaller town on its northern edge.

At a work session, the Albany council nodded agreement with a recommendation of Fire Chief John Bradner. As recommended by the chief, Millersburg would pay Albany $2 per thousand dollars of the town’s property value. If such a contract were in force for the current fiscal year, the payment would be about $926,000 for the year.

The contract still has to be finalized before the councils of both cities can take action to make it official.

Roughly the southern half of Millersburg containing ATI and other major industries now is part of the Albany Rural Fire Protection District, which pays the city of Albany for coverage at the rate of $2 per thousand. The part generally north of Conser Road, containing most of the new residential development over the past few years, is part of the Jefferson Rural Fire Protection District.

Earlier this year the Millersburg council voted to withdraw from both the Albany and Jefferson rural fire districts as of July 1, 2018, and to contract with a single entity to cover the entire town.

Under the deal with Albany, as discussed by officials of both towns, Millersburg would probably build a fire station that would be staffed by personnel from the Albany department. This would provide quicker response times to emergencies in Millersburg and would also give better coverage to the newly built-up parts of northeast Albany east of I-5.

Mayor Sharon Konopa attended the meeting via telephone. From what I could understand, she wants Bradner to find out what it would cost to have a consultant study the rate Millersburg would pay. Councilor Bessie Johnson was absent. The other councilors all had no trouble with the proposed $2 per thousand, the same rate paid by the three rural districts that contract with the city fire department.

Councilor Rich Kellum thought Albany Rural might be put out at losing part of Millersburg after contributing about $725,000 a few years ago to help Albany buy a ladder truck and pumper. Bradner plans to talk with the Albany Rural board to see if there are any such concerns. All the equipment would still be available, as now, to cover the district. Albany Rural will lose its Millersburg revenue but doesn’t have to pass it on to Albany either.

According to Bradner’s calculations, Albany would lose about $459,000 a year in fire department revenue if Millersburg contracted with some other department for fire coverage. But the Albany department still would have the same expenses as now and would still respond, if called, to Millersburg emergencies under mutual aid agreements, except that it would lose the Millersburg revenue it now gets via Albany Rural.

During the 2016-17 budget year, Bradner said, 95 percent of the fire department’s emergency responses were from inside Albany city limits. Rural districts make up 12 percent of the Albany population but accounted for only 5 percent of the calls. If all of Millersburg had been Albany’s responsibility, responses there would have been 1.6 percent of the total.

No word on when the Albany-Millersburg fire contract will be finished and come up again, but it will have to be before July. (hh)

(Full disclosure: I’m a board member of the North Albany Rural Fire Protection District, so I’m not entirely disinterested regarding any discussion of what Albany charges its rural partners for fire protection.)



10 responses to “Council OK with M’burg fire deal”

  1. Tony White says:

    Sounds like a great deal for both cities. Well done, Council(s).

  2. DAVID JONES says:

    Couple of side notes, Millersburg residents currently pay Jefferson $1.19 per thousand for fire protection.and has a fire station in Millersburg. So, the citizens of Millersburg will pay a substantial increase, plus need to build a new fire station. . Also, Jefferson will still provide coverage for all the areas surrounding Millersburg that are outside of the City limits.
    (Full disclosure, I an a member of the Jefferson Fire Borad.)

  3. Richard Vannice says:

    Hold on a second. Where are the personnel coming from that will staff the Milersburg station? Will current members of AFD be assigned or does it mean that more fire fighters will have to be hired? If so, how many and at what cost in additional salaries and benefits.
    It didn’t sound to me that this was addressed at the work session..

  4. John Hartman says:

    If the Millersburg negotiating team is willing to pay up a 41% premium for a service they’re receiving already, (see the David Jones comment) one must ask the question. What is the Millersburg negotiating squad smoking?

    If the Albany Council continues successfully suing the vendors it hires and can sell this fire protection scheme at a Cadillac price, then we’ve got the right Hucksters on the Council and they ought be congratulated.

  5. Gothic Albany says:

    If they build a new fire station in Millersburg, will this be a levy in addition to the $2 per 1000? Also what will happen to the old fire station already in Millersburg?

  6. Terry says:

    Do NOT do any business with the City of Albany.
    You have been warned!

    • P. Young says:

      “Do NOT do any business with the City of Albany.”
      Why? Care to offer specific examples?
      I live in Albany and thus pay taxes for city services but I really don’t have a dog in the fight…just curious why such a strong statement.

  7. Ray Kopczynski says:

    Everyone might want to read page two for the basis of our discussion was about:


    Nothing will happen overnight. We’ve simply given the chief authorization to pursue further based on the information provided.

  8. James Engel says:

    Ray…can’t help that someone let out the “hounds” & the barking about this will probably not stop.

    Say….is SAAB an ancient Norwegian word for….”Not a Harley” re – last Sundays toy parade.

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      “barking” is quite normal in any anonymous forum…

      Toy run was my 1st. I now know how to do it better next year. :-)

      SAAB: Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget (Swedish Airplane Manufacturer/business)


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