Merger of Laramie County Fire Districts 2 and 8 gains commission approval

Margaret Austin, Wyoming Tribune-Eagle, Cheyenne
·2 min read

May 5—CHEYENNE — Laramie County Fire Districts 2 and 8 are looking to merge under the umbrella of the "Laramie County Fire Authority," and the county Board of Commissioners gave its stamp of approval to the proposal at its meeting Tuesday.

For next steps, the districts will work with the county clerk to file for an election on the matter, which will likely occur in early fall. Whether the consolidation is approved will be up to voters in those fire districts.

The changes to the districts would mostly be administrative, Fire District 2 Chief Jason Caughey said.

"The two organizations operationally won't change much, but there is a very large benefit for our citizens because we can do more with less," Caughey said. "So, financially, we'll be able to streamline, which will free up revenue that then we can use to offset some of the deficiencies in both of our districts and to overcome challenges that we're facing."

The adjacent districts cover a significant portion of northwestern Laramie County, with Fire District 2 covering 1,100 square miles and Fire District 8 accounting for a smaller area around Spring Creek Ranch and Curt Gowdy State Park. Caughey said the districts will host some public meetings in the area in the coming months to answer any questions from residents and provide details on the proposal.

The consolidation conversation began a few years ago, as the districts were completing their training together. The roughly 120 firefighters in the two districts would continue training together and responding to emergencies in their areas under this proposal, but Caughey said it would allow them to save on a larger insurance plan, instead of paying for two separate ones.

"Operationally, there'll be very limited changes," Caughey said.

According to the commissioners' resolution, the merger would result in more comprehensive fire protection for property owners within both districts, increase efficiency and decrease duplication of equipment without raising taxes.

If the proposal is ultimately approved by voters, both districts will give up their current identities and come together under the Laramie County Fire Authority. The name was chosen by the firefighters in the district and keeps the door open for potential growth in the future.

"Our thought was that, down the road, if other districts wanted to merge in with us, that name would be all-encompassing," Caughey said.

Margaret Austin is the Wyoming Tribune Eagle's local government

reporter. She can be reached at maustin@wyomingnews.com or 307-633-3152. Follow her on Twitter at @MargaretMAustin.