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City-County Fire Protection District Dispute Hits the Capitol

Missouri's Capitol Building in 2017.
Meiying Wu / KBIA

The fight between the Columbia Fire Department and the Boone County Fire Protection District has reached a new stage — in the Missouri House of Representatives.

On Tuesday, the two agencies battled it out in a hearing of the House Local Government Committee over an issue that began in 2015. The disagreement focuses on who oversees putting out fires on property that was covered by the Fire District and then annexed by the city of Columbia, and therefore who gets to collect property tax in those areas.

T.J. O’Brien, president of the Columbia chapter of the International Association of Fire Fighters, said the city should cover those fires.

“If it’s in the city, it’s our responsibility," O'Brien said. "(The Fire District) cannot provide the same services that we can,” O’Brien said.

Fire District board members Bill Watkins and David Griggs, however, said it makes more sense for their agency to do it. Watkins said this is because Boone County's crews are closer.

To read more, visit our partners at the Columbia Missourian.