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Pine City Council rejects Rush City proposal for mutual aid fire agreement

The Pine City Council rejected a Rush City proposal for a mutual aid fire agreement at Wednesday’s meeting.

Interim Pine City administrator Marcy Peterson and fire chief Tom Miller drafted a contracted mutual aid agreement with a fee schedule, which was shared with Rush City officials. 

That offer was tabled by the Rush City Council, and a meeting was requested with a delegation from Pine City.

Peterson said Rush City administrator Amy Jo Mell sent a letter on March 14 looking to reinstate free mutual aid between the departments.

"During our conversation, in the meeting, it was brought up that it would be a six-month extension of the mutual aid," Peterson said, "However, her letter is asking for the rest of 2024 continued aid for free."

Mell's letter suggested reviewing mutual aid calls between the departments in July, and later in the fall, before determining how to move forward in 2025.

Council member Mary Kay Sloan said she hopes Rock Creek residents understand the decision wasn't made lightly.

"I just hope that Rock Creek residents understand that this isn't a decision that any of us are making lightly," she said. "This is very serious. We in the city care deeply about the safety of our citizens as well as all of the citizens in the area around us."

Sloan said that Rock Creek not contracting with the Pine City Fire Department impacted the city's budget.

"Rock Creek made their decision based on economics, and we need to base ours on the economics of our city as well. "I'm not in favor of giving mutual aid without the contract."

The Pine City Council plans to continue dialogue with Rush City to come to an agreement.

The motion to reject Rush City's proposal passed 3-0. Council member Kyle Palmer, a volunteer firefighter with the Pine City department, abstained.

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