Othello to terminate contract with ACFD 5

May 10—OTHELLO — The city of Othello announced Wednesday that they have provided a two-year notice of termination of its agreement with Adams County Fire District 5 due to a significant increase in the contract's cost over the last year.

According to the announcement, Othello Mayor Shawn Logan said ACFD 5's unwillingness to cooperate with the city has forced the city to terminate the contract. The city has contracted with ACFD 5 since 2001.

The city's payment under the contract is based entirely on assessed valuation in the city, which nearly doubled in the last year. The statement said the city budgeted $465,000 for the 2024 budget for Fire District services, and the valuation in 2024 would increase that expense by about $300,000.

According to the announcement, the city is unsure if it can afford the added expense of the contract, which could draw money away from other city projects, and ACFD does not want to renegotiate the contract rate for 2024.

"The City has asked repeatedly to come to the table to negotiate a reasonable rate that the City can afford," the statement said. "The City has sought mediation to resolve the matter and sincerely hopes a new contract with (ACFD 5) can be negotiated."

The statement said the Othello City Council has directed Logan and city staff to look into other options, including starting its own fire department. The city remains the legal owner of ACFD 5's Fire Hall building and all the local fire trucks and equipment.

Further information will be reported on this situation as it develops.