Suit Filed To Block Minnesota City From Leaving Fire District

A group of concerned citizens, firefighters and a voter advocacy group have combined to file suit to force a referendum vote before a Minnesota city can break away from a joint fire district.

Last December the Lino Lakes city council voted to create their own fire department, and rather than remain with the Centennial Fire District. Centennial currently provides coverage to three communities: Lino Lakes, Centerville and Circle Pines.

According to news reports, the problem appears to be that Lino Lakes supplies nearly 70% of the district’s budget and accounts for approximately 70% of the runs, yet the resources are split evenly across the three communities with each community having a one-third vote in governing the district.

The lawsuit seeks to force a referendum vote among residents of Lino Lakes, something the various plaintiffs appear to support for different reasons. Among the plaintiffs are: Minnesota Voters Alliance, the Centennial Fire Fighters Relief Association (who represents the district’s firefighters), and fourteen named individuals. The suit was filed today in Anoka County District Court.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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