It took numerous public hearings, a petition and ultimately a change in legislation, but Cornerstone Estates has officially withdrawn from Northwest Fire Protection District.
Monday, the trio of Rogers County Commissioners voted to accept Cornerstone Estate's petition to withdraw from the fire protection district. It was the culmination of over a year of discussion and effort.
During Monday's meeting Commissioner Steve Hendrix caught everyone present up on the issue saying, "We first heard this last October. They brought the same petition to us a year ago. At that time we heard from Cornerstone and resistance from Northwest and we gave the benefit of the doubt be cause the statute was written vaguely enough that we didn't feel comfortable making a ruling at that time. The representatives of Cornerstone went to our legislators and changed the wording of the statute in question. So now it is not in question, you can only interpret it one way."
Hendrix clarified that this discussion was not reflective of the fire district's service.
"This is not an indictment in any way on Northwest Fire's ability to serve this community. They are a well-staffed, well-maintained, professional fire district. They do a great job and their services are sorely needed in our community,"he said. "I'm very sensitive to their needs and we will help them any chance we get.
This is a matter of 20 houses annexed into the city limits of Claremore in 1999 and have been serviced by Claremore. I checked the call logs of Claremore and Northwest and it is very evident that Claremore is serving that community and will continue to do so."
He said this amounts to "20 houses per year, representing $5,500 per year in taxes."
While Northwest will be losing these 20 houses, Hendrix pointed out that new building permits are being issued in Northwest's protection district every year.
"I don't think this will be detrimental to Northwest in the long term," Hendrix said.