DUNCAN — With two signatures Tuesday night, Sept. 10, it became official — the town of Duncan is now part of the Duncan Valley Rural Fire District

The district board unanimously approved the annexation of the Town of Duncan into the district.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said district board chairman Charles Billinglsey. “I’ve been with the Fire Department since November 1975, and I’ve seen them try and try and try. I’m glad to see it finally happen.”

The Citizens For Rural Fire Protection ad hoc committee was tasked with obtaining signatures of approval of 50 percent plus one of property owners within the area to be annexed, with a minimum of 50 percent plus one of the valuation of that property.

Committee members gathered 221 valid signatures — with another 12 found to be invalid — with property assessed at a valuation $1.09 million.

Committee member Sandi Dixon said Tuesday obtaining those signatures was “extremely difficult and could not have been accomplished without the help of dedicated residents and business owners who joined the committee.”

Committee members included Dustie Robinette, Doug Barlow, Deborah Mendelsohn, Jill and Will Wearne, Susan and Jesse Rios, Ann Thurman, Robert Jonson and Dixon.

“This was truly an amazing adventure, long and difficult for certain,” Dixon said. “With more than 33 percent of our town ownership, many property owners who are deceased, and much of our value held by large, centrally assessed entities, it became all too apparent to us why the previous attempts had failed.

“This opportunity shows that when a community, with all its members — young and seasoned, private business, corporate, nonprofit and even nonresident property owners — are truly invested (and) come together, challenging odds can be overcome and great things accomplished.”

She also praised Duncan Valley Electric Cooperative and Valley TeleCom, as holders of property with the largest valuations in the area to be annexed, for their support.

The approval signed by Fire District board members Billingsley and Tom Haught has been submitted to the county for recording, and the town will officially become part of the district at midnight, Oct. 11. The properties in town will be assessed the district tax levy to pay for fire service starting in 2020.

“That means your first year (the final three months of 2019) is free,” said Fire Chief Hayden Boyd.

Residents of the Town of Duncan will also become eligible to serve on the fire district’s governing board as of Oct. 11. The board has one vacancy, and the district is accepting applications for appointment to the seat, which has a term through November 2022. The board will announce the appointment at the Nov. 12 meeting.

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