No water, no service

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Without adequate funding and needed equipment, it's not likely that the Craig Rural Fire Protection District will consider annexation requests to the district until the fire department gets its second tanker running.

The Fire Board implemented a moratorium on growth in the fire district about one year ago when its second tanker truck went down.

Since the moratorium, taxpayers have voted against a mill levy increase, which would have provided funds that would support annexation requests, Craig Fire Rescue Chief Chris Nichols said.

The moratorium is bad news for some residents of Sand Springs, a subdivision of about 40 homes west of Craig and 11 miles from the fire station.

Although part of the subdivision is inside the fire protection district, Fire Board members tabled a request to annex more of the subdivision because it lacked an adequate water supply at the subdivision site.

Their decision means Sand Springs residents outside the district will be billed if the fire de-part-ment responds to a call on their land.

Homeowners at the outer fringes of the fire district likely are at risk for now, Willems said. At its extremes, the district extends 15 miles north of Craig and 11 miles west.

The homeowners are at risk because the fire department can't transport adequate water to fires with only one tanker truck, fire board member Bob Pluym said.

"If we say we're going to take them in, we should be able to do the job," Pluym said.

Since implementing the moratorium, the board has rejected one other request placed by a homeowner farther west of Craig than Sand Springs.

Two things could happen to end or make exemptions in the moratorium, Nichols said.

The fire district has a grant pending from the state Depart-ment of Local Affairs, which would fix the second tanker. When the truck is back on the road, the district will consider annexations, Nichols said.

Second, subdivisions with water storage would have a better chance of being accepted into the district, he said.

Subdivisions would need storage tanks of about 30,000 gallons to meet the fire department's fire-fighting needs.

These subdivisions would have a better chance of getting into the district, but there would be no guarantee, Nichols said.

No subdivisions near the fire protection district have water storage, he said.

Lopp Behrman, one of Sand Springs' developers, was surprised to hear the fire board rejected the annexation request, because part of Sand Springs is in the district.

He figured the district would want the tax money.

"We just wanted in there so everyone is in the fire district. Otherwise, it costs when they come out," Behrman said.

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