Settlement reached in City of Spearfish v. Spearfish Volunteer Firefighters’ Association

SPEARFISH, S.D. — The City of Spearfish and the Spearfish Volunteer Firefighters’ Association have announced that they will sign a settlement agreement that effectively dismisses all pending litigation that began in January 2018.

“Having the Association and the City working as one is a big win for the community, and we are excited about what this means for the future,” Glen Lewis, Spearfish Volunteer Firefighters’ Association president, said.

The settlement agreement addresses issues related to deferred compensation, ownership of historic artifacts, ownership of vehicles and equipment, South Dakota Community Foundation endowment funding, and a funding partnership between both entities to pursue the development of a fire training facility.

“I am very thankful to be here at this place with the volunteers,” Mayor Dana Boke said, acknowledging that the process has involved difficult and challenging times for all of the entities involved. “I’d like to commend the volunteers and the public safety leadership team for maintaining a strong foundation to continue the high level of service expected by the community, staying committed to the process, and holding to the vision for the future.

Highlights of this agreement are:

  • Artifacts: Historic artifacts will be transferred to the ownership of the Association to be held in trust for the public.
  • Vehicles, apparatus, and equipment: All vehicles, apparatus, and equipment will be owned by the City, with the exception of a grill trailer, fire education trailer, Engine 9, and the historic artifacts.
  • South Dakota Community Foundation endowment: The Association will be the beneficiary of the endowment as long as it is eligible to receive it; the City will be the contingent beneficiary; and there will be amendments added to require the endowment funds to be used within the Spearfish Fire Protection District.
  • Training facility: The Association will transfer $337,000 to an investment account mutually-agreed upon by the City and the Association for no more than seven years, during which the parties will work together to find additional funding sources for said facility. If the training facility does not come to fruition after seven years, the funds would be put toward a piece of equipment/apparatus, of the Association’s choosing, from a list provided by the City.

“We’re excited to explore the feasibility of a training facility,” Spearfish Fire Chief Scott Deaver said. “This is all geared toward making the Spearfish Fire Department the premier fire department.”

Through the Spearfish Fire Department, both organizations are excited to continue to provide the excellent fire protection services for the community and fire protection district that have been in place since 1881.

“The future looks extremely bright,” Deaver said.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News