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Continued: Lino Lakes will separate from 3-city fire district in Anoka County

  • Article by: SHANNON PRATHER , Star Tribune
  • Last update: July 4, 2014 - 9:52 PM

The separation process will include a draft-style event this summer to divide assets, including fire engines and tankers. In addition, the department’s 60 paid on-call firefighters will have to decide whether to stay with a two-city Centennial operation, move to the Lino Lakes department or retire.

Residents form group

Some people are trying to keep it from coming to that.

A group of Centennial firefighters and residents has formed Concerned Citizens for Emergency Services. The goal is to stop the breakup either by persuading the Lino Lakes City Council to reconsider or to put the issue before city voters. The group’s 60 members have distributed fliers and yard signs door-to-door.

They’re also collecting signatures from Lino Lakes voters to try to put the question on the November ballot. They need 600 by the end of July, said Centennial Fire Capt. Mike Schweigert, who is part of the effort but lives in Circle Pines.

‘It will be worse service’

“What we are looking to do is educate the people of Lino Lakes, Circle Pines and Centerville about the negative impacts of this breakup,” Schweigert said. “It will cost millions of dollars and it will be worse service in the community.”

Reinert said he believes the petitioners are a minority voice in the community. He also said that “we are not going to settle for less service than we already have.” For his part in Circle Pines, Bartholomay is holding out hope that Lino Lakes will reconsider splitting off.

“I am hoping we can still pull it back together,” he said. “The whole decision by Lino Lakes to withdraw was pretty rushed.”

Shannon Prather • 612-673-4804

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