Keeping Counties Safe


Rising land prices could've changed the safety of one county, but a new agreement with the city of Hastings and the Hastings Rural Fire department will keep their emergency system consistent.

An agreement made decades ago made it possible for the city of Hastings and the Hastings Rural Fire Department to work together.

Hastings rural fire department keeps a truck at City of Hastings Fire, so their volunteers may respond to areas close to city limits. However, rising land value reduced the operating funds so much that the rural district wouldn't be able to continue providing emergency funding.

A new agreement will help by lessening the amount they'd pay to the city.

"It's been a long working relationship, it's a good relationship. The city understands the need of the rural to be able to meet their financial obligations so we're just going to adjust to keep things going," Fire Chief Kent Gilbert said.

Hastings city officials approved the agreement for automatic air response with Hastings Rural Fire District on Monday.

"The response time won't change. It's the same response we've had. We've worked well with the city. The mechanism is changing so we could afford to pay it." said Russel Smith, with the Hastings Rural Fire District.

Smith said the state limited their budget in 1993, and the price of land hasn't stopped going up since.

Hastings Rural Fire District has locked the funding at a 3 percent increase per year, instead of tying it with the evaluation of land prices, keeping their funds consistent.