The city of Long Lake filed a lawsuit against neighboring Orono on Friday, as the two small Lake Minnetonka cities grapple over the future of the fire department they have shared for 20 years.

Long Lake is seeking an injunction to block Orono from taking over one of the two shared Long Lake Fire Department stations 18 months before the end of a shared-services contract between the two cities. Long Lake is also seeking damages for what it alleges has been Orono's effort to hobble the Long Lake department, which also serves Medina and Minnetonka Beach.

"Orono has been working swiftly and systematically to undermine the LLFD (Long Lake Fire Department)," the complaint reads.

With a vote earlier this month, Orono moved to establish its own fire department, arguing it will do a better job of administering a fire department than Long Lake, and planning to spend more on staff for faster response times, and on new equipment.

Orono resolved that the as-yet-unstaffed fire department should cover the southwestern section of Orono starting in July 2024. Orono wants to use a fire station that it owns and has been sharing with Long Lake — but which Long Lake says it has a contract to operate until the end of 2025.

Long Lake also argues Orono has been working in other ways to undermine the Long Lake Fire Department.

Orono hired away the Long Lake fire chief, tried to get control of firefighter pension funds though state legislation, and bought a secondhand ladder truck Long Lake wanted. Orono officials have said they want to hire Long Lake firefighters to start working in Orono by the summer of 2024, and that they do not intend to approve any new shared capital spending for the department the cities will still share until the end of 2025.

Orono has not yet responded to the complaint but city officials have said they do not believe they are violating the contract.