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Belgrade withdraws plans to take over Central Valley Fire District

“We’re hoping to move forward, get leadership in here that’s stable, and build into the future,” said acting Fire Chief Jake Zlomie.
Posted at 5:09 PM, Dec 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-12 19:09:11-05

BELGRADE — On Nov. 5, the City of Belgrade’s proposal to potentially take over the Central Valley Fire District (CVFD) was shelved. Now, the station is trying to figure out what’s next.

“There’s been some tough conversations from staff to staff,” said Jake Zlomie. “We’re still digesting the results from the mill levy too.”

Zlomie previously served as fire marshal for CVFD, but right now he’s the acting fire chief. It’s a role he’s been filling since the previous chief, Lonnie Rash, resigned on Nov. 10.

His resignation came just two months after being on the job. He’s the fourth fire chief they’ve lost since 2022.

Rash stepped down three days after the Nov. 7 election when voters turned down a 30-mill operating levy for the fire district, which would have added about $2 million to CVFD’s annual budget.

“We’re learning a lot along the way during this period of transition in our agency between leadership,” said Zlomie.

Without the mill, the department needs to reduce expenses.

An idea the self-governed station was leaning toward: coming under the umbrella of the City of Belgrade.

But on Nov. 5, the city withdrew its proposal to take over the fire department to do more analysis, according to Zlomie’s understanding.

We reached out to the City of Belgrade to learn more about their reason for withdrawing the proposal, but we have not heard back from them.

“There was some mixed reactions,” said Zlomie. “There’s some advantages and some changes too, which is hard.”

Zlomie says even though the offer is no longer on the table, CVFD is still open to the possibility.

“If it occurs again in the future, we’ll be here for the discussion,” said Zlomie.

At Tuesday night’s fire board meeting, CVFD is scheduled to discuss the search for a new fire chief.

“We’re hoping to move forward, get leadership in here that’s stable, and build into the future,” said Zlomie.