48-805. Fire district; powers and duties; definition

A. A fire district, through its board, shall:

1. Hold public meetings at least once each calendar month unless a board consists of three members and the fire district levies less than five hundred thousand dollars annually then the board shall meet in July and at least every two months thereafter. A board for a district organized pursuant to article 3 of this chapter shall hold public meetings at least every two months.

2. Determine the compensation payable to district personnel.

3. Require probationary employees in a paid sworn firefighter position, a reserve firefighter position or a volunteer firefighter position to submit a full set of fingerprints to the fire district. The fire district shall submit the fingerprints to the department of public safety for the purpose of obtaining a state and federal criminal records check pursuant to section 41-1750 and Public Law 92-544. The department of public safety may exchange this fingerprint data with the federal bureau of investigation.

B. A fire district, through its board, may:

1. Employ any personnel and provide services deemed necessary for fire protection, for preservation of life and for carrying out its other powers and duties, including providing ambulance transportation services when authorized to do so pursuant to title 36, chapter 21.1, article 2, but a member of a district board shall not be an employee of the district. The merger of two or more fire districts pursuant to section 48-820 or the consolidation with one or more fire districts pursuant to section 48-822 shall not expand the boundaries of an existing certificate of necessity unless authorized pursuant to title 36, chapter 21.1, article 2.

2. Construct, purchase, lease, lease-purchase or otherwise acquire the following or any interest therein and, in connection with the construction or other acquisition, purchase, lease, lease-purchase or grant a lien on any or all of its present or future property, including:

(a) Apparatus, water and rescue equipment, including ambulances and equipment related to any of the foregoing.

(b) Land, buildings, equipment and furnishings to house equipment and personnel necessary or appropriate to carry out its purposes.

3. Finance the acquisition of property as provided in this section and costs incurred in connection with the issuance of bonds as provided in section 48-806. Bonds shall not be issued without the consent of a majority of the electors of the district voting at an election held for that purpose. For the purposes of an election held under this paragraph, all persons who are eligible to vote in fire district elections under section 48-802 are eligible to vote.

4. Enforce the fire code adopted by the district, if any, and assist the state fire marshal in the enforcement of fire protection standards of this state within the fire district including enforcement of a nationally recognized fire code if expressly authorized by the state fire marshal.

5. After the approval of the qualified electors of the fire district voting at a regular district election or at a special election called for that purpose by the district board, as appropriate, or at any election held in the county that encompasses the fire district, adopt the _______ fire code, which is a nationally recognized fire code approved by the state fire marshal. The words appearing on the ballots shall be "should __________ fire district adopt the __________ fire code, which is a nationally recognized fire code approved by the state fire marshal--yes", "should ____________ fire district adopt the __________ fire code, which is a nationally recognized fire code approved by the state fire marshal--no". The code shall be enforced by the county attorney in the same manner as any other law or ordinance of the county. Any inspection or enforcement costs are the responsibility of the fire district involved. The district shall keep the code on file, which shall be open to public inspection for a period of thirty days before any election for the purpose of adopting a fire code. Copies of the order of election shall be posted in three public places in the district at least twenty days before the date of the election, and if a newspaper is published in the county having a general circulation in the district, the order shall be published in the newspaper at least once a week during each of the three calendar weeks preceding the calendar week of the election.

6. Amend or revise the adopted fire code, including replacement of the adopted fire code with an alternative nationally recognized fire code, with the approval of the state fire marshal and after a hearing held pursuant to posted and published notice as prescribed by section 48-805.02, subsection A. The district shall keep three copies of the adopted code, amendments and revisions on file for public inspection.

7. Enter into an agreement procuring the services of an organized private fire protection company or a fire department of a neighboring city, town, district or settlement without impairing the fire district's powers.

8. Contract with a city or town for fire protection services for all or part of the city or town area until the city or town elects to provide regular fire department services to the area.

9. Retain a certified public accountant to perform an annual audit of district books.

10. Retain private legal counsel.

11. Accept gifts, contributions, bequests and grants and comply with any requirements of those gifts, contributions, bequests and grants that are not inconsistent with this article.

12. Appropriate and expend annually monies as are necessary for the purpose of fire districts belonging to and paying dues in the Arizona fire district association and other professional affiliations or entities.

13. Adopt resolutions establishing fee schedules both within and outside of the jurisdictional boundaries of the district for providing fire protection services and services for the preservation of life, including emergency fire and emergency medical services, plan reviews, standby charges, fire cause determination, users' fees or facilities benefit assessments or any other fee schedule that may be required.

14. With the approval of two of the three members of a three-member board, four of the five members of a five-member board or five of the seven members of a seven-member board, change the district's name and on so doing shall give written notice to the board of supervisors of the change. The governing board of a fire district may place a question on the general election ballot as to whether the fire district shall change its name.

15. Require all employees to submit a full set of fingerprints as prescribed by subsection A, paragraph 3 of this section.

16. Enter into intergovernmental agreements or contracts as follows:

(a) Enter into an intergovernmental agreement with another political subdivision for technical or administrative services or to provide fire services to the property owned by the political subdivision, including property that is outside the district boundary.

(b) Enter into a contract with individuals to provide technical or administrative services.

(c) Enter into a contract with individuals to provide fire protection services or emergency medical services, or both, to the extent not regulated by title 36, chapter 21.1 to property owned by the individual located outside the district boundaries if the individual's property is not located in a county island as defined in section 11-251.12 and at least one of the following apply:

(i) The existing fire service provider where the individual's property is located has issued a notice to the individual that the provider plans to discontinue service.

(ii) Fire service is not available to the individual's property.

(iii) Fire service is offered pursuant to a contract or subscription and the individual has not obtained service for a period of twenty-four months before the date of the contract with the district.

(d) Enter into a contract with individuals to provide fire services to property owned by the individual located outside the district boundaries, where the individual's property is located in a county island as defined in section 11-251.12, if both of the following apply:

(i) The existing fire service provider where the individual's property is located has issued a notice to the residents of the county island and the individual that the provider plans to discontinue or substantially reduce service.

(ii) The district offers contracts to all residents and property owners of the county island who will be affected by the discontinuance or substantial reduction in service by the current fire service provider.

(e) For the purposes of subdivision (a), (b), (c) or (d) of this paragraph, a district may contract with any public or private fire service provider to provide some or all of the contractual services the district is contracting to deliver.

(f) Any contract entered into pursuant to subdivisions (b), (c) and (d) of this paragraph shall include a provision setting forth the cost of service and performance criteria.

17. Sell or otherwise dispose of any real property, facilities or equipment if the district board determines the real property, facilities or equipment to be surplus.

C. A fire district may not administratively add or annex additional property or delete property or otherwise modify its boundaries except in a merger or consolidation pursuant to this chapter or in a boundary change made pursuant to section 48-262. This subsection does not apply to a district organized pursuant to article 3 of this chapter.

D. The chairman and clerk of the district board or their respective designees, as applicable, shall draw warrants on the county treasurer for money required to operate the district in accordance with the budget and, as so drawn, the warrants shall be sufficient to authorize the county treasurer to pay from the fire district fund.

E. For any fire district that designates one or more board members to have access to the financial books and records of the district, those board members are authorized by law to have full access to those financial books and records.

F. The district board may assess and levy a secondary property tax pursuant to this article to pay for the costs of fire protection services or emergency medical services except for services regulated pursuant to title 36, chapter 21.1.

G. The county attorney may advise and represent the district if in the county attorney's judgment the advice and representation are appropriate and not in conflict with the county attorney's duties under section 11-532. If the county attorney is unable to advise and represent the district due to a conflict of interest, the district may retain private legal counsel or may request the attorney general to represent it, or both.

H. If a district's fire code requires the use of a fire watch, an employee who works at the building in which a fire watch is required may serve as the fire watch. A person who is designated as a fire watch shall be equipped with the means to contact the local fire department, and the person's only duty while keeping watch for fires shall be to perform constant patrols of the protected premises. The district shall provide the fire watch with printed instructions from the state fire marshal and may provide a free training session before the person's deployment as the fire watch begins.

I. For the purposes of this section, "fire watch" means a person who is stationed in a building or in a place relative to a building to observe the building and its openings when the fire protection system for the building is temporarily nonoperational or absent.