La Vista Fire Department Merges With Papillion

It's the end of an era and the dawn of a new partnership in Sarpy County.

After 51 years of service, the LaVista volunteer fire department is no more.

The city joined with the City of Papillion fire department and Papillion rural fire district this morning.

The area served includes about 60,000 people. Officials say it was cost efficient for both cities to join forces.

Residents in both communities will have increased coverage by a professional fire and rescue service.

The mayors of both cities say cost was a major factor in the merger.

“When LaVista came to us, we said we're very interested as long as we don't increase costs to Papillion residents and we don't reduce safety and we kept that benchmark through the whole time,” Papillion Mayor David Black said.

“If LaVista would have started their own fire department we would have had to brought in approximately 24-26 firefighters plus the administration,” LaVista Mayor Douglas Kindig said. “By joining Papillion rural and the City of Papillion, we're only hiring 12. Cost to the city savings is probably around $1.8 million by merging instead of having our own.”

There will now be four fire stations throughout both cities and equipment will also be shared.

That should make response time to an incident around four and one half minutes, according to Papillion Fire Chief Bill Bowes.

Mayor Kindig said there will be a cost to LaVista but adds any increase will come from the general fund and not be passed on to taxpayers.

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