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United Fire Authority

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The formation of a United Fire Authority in Salt Lake County is a step in the right direction.

The UFA is set to begin functioning January 1.

Essentially, it is a reorganization of the fire department that currently serves more than 330-thousand people in unincorporated areas of Salt Lake County and six cities within the county.

Frankly, it would be better if the county and the cities involved would bite the bullet and not dillydally with a fire authority, but organize what ultimately needs to exist: an independent United Fire District.

Political reality, though, says a stepping-stone is needed to get from today's county controlled fire fighting organization to one that will be more equitable and efficient, while being directly responsive to taxpayers.

Ultimately, in fact, KSL believes all of Salt Lake County, not just the six cities now onboard, would be best served by a single, consolidated fire department. It would eliminate costly overhead, the duplication of some services and the occasional turf wars that occur because of the fragmented nature of the current system.

Meantime, comes the challenge of getting the UFA in place by the first of the year and demonstrating the viability of consolidating key emergency services. KSL commends the county council and leaders of six member cities for taking this first important step.

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