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Oct 24, 2012 9:03 PM by Nathan O'Neal

Catalina Foothills residents fight against proposed annexation

TUCSON - Residents are fighting against a proposed annexation by the Golder Ranch Fire Department, which would regionalize the unogranized area of the Catalina Foothills.

The proposal comes from the Golder Ranch Fire Dept. despite that the area is already served by privately-run Rural Metro Fire.

Ernie Cohen has lived in his Catalina Foothills home with his wife for nearly 25 years. During his time living there, he has had to call 911 to get emergency medical help from Rural Metro.

"The services we have been provided have been superb, we don't have a need for a change," Cohen told News 4 Tucson.

Cohen is just one of several folks living in the are who disagree with the proposal.

"They weren't invited in, we didn't ask them to come," Cohen said.

Rural Metro is also against the proposed plan.

Roughly 4500 properties in the foothills would be put under the jurisdiction of Golder Ranch Fire in an attempt to "regionalize" the area, with plans to eventually open up their own fire station.

Golder Ranch Fire Chief Randy Karrer believes this move has the best interests of the folks living in the foothills in mind.

"It's about the type of response system that's going to support that are," Karrer said.

Although the property owners have to approve the annexations in a petition, Karrer said he'd like to see everybody on the same page with this.

"This is about bringing together fire departments so we don't have these geographical boundaries," Karrer told News 4 Tucson. "I believe that the residents of the foothills deserve a better service."

As for Ernie Cohen, he hopes his community will speak out and block this effort from taking shape.

"I know my neighbors and we have talked about this and they are not at all happy," Cohen said.

Karrer said the petition process could take some time with the initiative to begin probably around January 1st.

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