MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Concerned citizens in Lino Lakes say they are worried because soon they will have fewer firefighters in their city, and lawyers for the group say they expect to file a lawsuit against the city council.
The anticipated lawsuit follows the council’s decision to break away from the Centennial Fire District and make its own city-run fire department.
The Centennial Fire District is made up of three towns: Lino Lakes, Circle Pines, and Centerville. City leaders wanted more control and decided to break the department off, but members of the fire department and concerned citizens said they are not satisfied with the city’s decision.
The Lino Lakes city administrator told WCCO’s Nina Moini that Lino Lakes was paying for about 70 percent of resources for the district, even though the resources were split evenly three ways. The city council wasn’t happy with this arrangement so they decided to break off.
Several members of the town say they are concerned they will have fewer resources and slower response times as a result.
More than 800 people signed a petition in the town to bring the issue to a public referendum this November, but the city denied the request, saying the public can’t overrule an administrative decision by the council.
City leaders say they are confident that by using the resources they will have in a more efficient and modern way, the public won’t feel the loss of having less manpower.
The new fire department in Lino Lakes will be up and running in January 2016 if all goes as planned. They are hiring now, and are aiming to have about 30 trained firefighters when the department opens, with an eventual workforce of 40. That number is still less than what the three combined fire departments have now.