An Act concerning fire districts and fire departments; relating to the consolidation thereof.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Kansas:
Section 1. The provisions of this act shall apply to any fire district created by a county under chapter 19 of the Kansas Statutes Annotated, to any fire district created by a township under chapter 80 of the Kansas Statutes Annotated, to any fire district created under chapter 31 of the Kansas Statutes Annotated, and to any fire department created by the governing body of a city.
Sec. 2. Upon the request of the governing body of two or more fire districts or departments, the board of county commissioners of any county, by resolution, may provide for the consolidation of fire districts and may include within the newly created district any area not currently being provided fire protection.
Sec. 3. If the fire districts or departments desiring to be consolidated consist of land in adjoining counties, the county commissions of both counties, by resolution, may create a new district under the provisions of this act.
Sec. 4. (a) The resolution creating a consolidated fire district as pro- vided by this act, shall be published at least once each week for two consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the area sub- ject to the proposed consolidation. If within 60 days following the last publication of the resolution, a petition in opposition thereto, signed by not less than 5% of the registered voters residing within each of the two or more areas proposed for consolidation is filed with the county election officer, the board shall order an election to be called and held within the areas proposed to be consolidated within 90 days after the filing of such petition in the manner provided for the calling and holding of elections under the general bond law. If a majority of the electors voting at such election shall approve the consolidation of such areas the board of county commissioners, by resolution, shall provide for the consolidation of such areas and define the boundaries of the area as consolidated. Any such consolidation shall be made prior to July 1 of any year to take effect on January 1 of the succeeding year.
(b) Any resolution creating a consolidated fire district shall provide for the dissolution or disorganization of the fire districts as they existed prior to the effective date of the creation of a consolidated fire district. The resolution creating a consolidated fire district also shall fix the amount of tax, not to exceed 11 mills, that may be levied by the governing body of the consolidated fire district.
Sec. 5. (a) Except as provided by subsection (b), upon the consoli- dation of any such areas the board of county commissioners shall appoint a governing body composed of at least three and not more than seven members who shall represent as nearly as possible, the geographical areas in the consolidated area. In the event that two counties have joined to- gether to create a consolidated fire district, the number of members on the governing board from each county shall be determined on the basis of population, but each county represented shall have at least one ap- pointment to the board. The members of the governing board shall be appointed as follows: Two members for a term of one year; two members for a term of two years; and three members for a term of three years. Thereafter, all members shall be appointed for a term of three years. All vacancies on the governing board shall be filled by appointment for the remainder of the unexpired term. Within 30 days after the governing body is appointed and annually thereafter, the governing body shall meet and organize by election from its membership a chairperson, vice-chairperson and treasurer. The treasurer shall give a corporate surety bond, condi- tioned for the faithful performance of duty and accounting for all moneys received thereby. Such bond shall be approved and be in the amount fixed by the governing body. The treasurer also shall serve as secretary to the board.
(b) The board or boards of county commissioners may serve as the governing body of the consolidated fire district or may place the super- vision of the consolidated fire district under a fire district board of trus- tees. The board or boards of county commissioners may appoint a board of not less than three members and not more than nine members, com- posed of persons other than members of the board or boards of county commissioners, who shall serve at the pleasure of the board or boards of county commissioners. The fire district board of trustees, if appointed, may employ a supervisor and such other persons as may be necessary to properly operate and manage such consolidated fire district.
Sec. 6. The governing body of any fire district created pursuant to this act shall have the authority to:
(a) Levy taxes and special assessments as provided by law. Except as provided by section 4 and amendments thereto, the governing body shall fix the amount of the tax, not to exceed 11 mills, to be levied upon all taxable tangible property in the consolidated fire district;
(b) enter into contracts;
(c) acquire and dispose of real and personal property;
(d) acquire, construct, reconstruct, equip, operate, maintain and fur- nish buildings to house fire-fighting equipment;
(e) acquire, operate and maintain fire-fighting equipment;
(f) issue general obligation bonds and no-fund warrants;
(g) pay compensation and salaries to fire district employees;
(h) exercise eminent domain;
(i) pay the operation and maintenance expenses of the fire district and other expenses legally incurred by the district;
(j) select regular employees, provide for their compensation and fur- nish quarters for such employees if deemed desirable;
(k) provide for the organization of volunteer members who may be compensated for attending fires or meetings;
(l) provide special clothing and equipment for such employees and volunteers;
(m) insure such employees and volunteers against accidental death and injury in the performance of their duties; and
(n) do all things necessary or desirable to maintain and operate such department so as to furnish fire protection for the inhabitants of the district and otherwise effectuate the purposes of this act.
Sec. 7. (a) Subject to the provisions of subsection (b), the books, papers, equipment and other real and personal property belonging to the departments consolidated pursuant to this act shall be transferred to and shall become the property of the consolidated district.
(b) All funds in the treasury of any such fire district at the time of consolidation shall be applied to the payment of any outstanding indebt- edness, including bonded indebtedness, of such fire district.
Sec. 8. If any fire district, at the time of such consolidation, has any outstanding indebtedness, it shall be the duty of the board of county commissioners of the county to provide for the payment of such outstand- ing indebtedness by providing for the levying of taxes upon all the prop- erty in that district prior to the consolidation with another district. The levy shall be entered by the county clerk on the tax roll the same as other taxes.
Sec. 9. The consolidation of any fire district under the provisions of this act shall not affect the rights of any firefighter serving in the depart- ment of such district to benefits under any retirement or relief association program.
Sec. 10. Unless otherwise specifically provided in this act, any fire district created under the provisions of this act, shall have all the duties, rights and obligations of any department created under chapter 19 of the Kansas Statutes Annotated.
Sec. 11. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its publication in the statute book.
Approved May 11, 1996.