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Judge to Rule on Lino Lakes Fire Department Battle Thursday

Updated: 08/21/2014 7:57 AM
Created: 08/19/2014 7:47 PM KSTP.com
By: Jennie Olson

Residents in Lino Lakes should know by Thursday whether they'll get to vote on starting a fire department of their own.

In January, the Lino Lakes City Council unanimously voted to split from the Centennial Fire District, which is comprised of Lino Lakes, Centerville and Circle Pines. They will open their own city fire department beginning in January 2016.

The three cities have been sharing fire services for 28 years.

John Swenson, Lino Lakes' Public Safety Director, says going at it alone will ensure a model for the long-term growth of the city, promising continued quality service. He says after startup costs, annual fire department operations will not cost the city any more than it currently pays for fire coverage from Centennial.

However, firefighters disagree. They have been mailing flyers to city residents arguing that a split from the Centennial Fire District will cost city taxpayers more money, lead to slower response times and hurt recruiting.

A group wanting a public vote on the issue collected enough signatures to put it on the ballot, but the council rejected that so the group sued.

A hearing is set for Thursday at 9:30 a.m. at the Anoka County Courthouse.

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