A refresher course on CPR was hosted by Johnson County Fire Distrct No. 1 on Feb. 18. JCFD No. 1 provides service to the Gardner Edgerton area, and a merger between Gardner and the department will be finalized this year. Photo courtesy of JCFD No. 1

A refresher course on CPR was hosted by Johnson County Fire Distrct No. 1 on Feb. 18. JCFD No. 1 provides service to the Gardner Edgerton area, and a merger between Gardner and the department will be finalized this year. Photo courtesy of JCFD No. 1

County commission approval and the Governor’s signature is about all that’s needed to complete a merger between Johnson County Fire District No. 1 and Gardner.
“It is all completed,” Dennis Meyers, assistant fire chief, said.
On May 4, 2015, the Gardner council approved the district’s contract thru 2016, and at the same city council meeting they voted to go ahead and complete the merger, Meyers said.
That will begin in 2017.
Prior to 2010, a city public safety department, which included police officers with some fire training, responded to fires in town. In October 2010, officials separated fire protection services from police and entered into a contract with JCFD No. 1 for services. As part of the agreement, Gardner turned over debt payments on a fire station and police building on 183rd Street to the fire district as well as fire equipment including trucks.
In 2017 the taxing authority will fall under the fire district, and to that end Meyers said there had to be some wording changes that requires legislation and Governor Sam Brownback’s signature.
Meyers said HB2438 is passed thru the House, and it’s thru the Senate committee.
“It is basically just terminology to do what we want to do,” he said. Once the bill is passed, the city will have to go to the county and ask for approval for county authority.
“We have to get all this done prior to April,” he said, “because that’s when we start working on our budget.”
Residents will only pay for the fire district’s operating mil; not bond indebtedness. Meyers said he and Laura Gourley, Gardner finance director, have met with county officials.
“Our operating mil is at 12 mils today is,” Meyers said. “15 mil includes bond indebtedness which will not affect Gardner residents.”
The mill levy will be set sometime in April, Meyers said, and the exact mill will depend on the district’s valuation and intermodal.
“We will set the mil levy sometime in April,” he said. “We don’t anticipate it going up, but I don’t know for sure.”
JCFD No. 1’s insurance rating is 4, down from Gardner’s ISO of 6, due to close proximity to water and fire stations.