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Emergency services in Cass, Fargo to join

Cass County and the city of Fargo soon could have a joint emergency management department. The County Commission and City Commission, meeting separately Monday, approved doing the groundwork for a joint department. "From time to time a great idea...

Cass County and the city of Fargo soon could have a joint emergency management department.

The County Commission and City Commission, meeting separately Monday, approved doing the groundwork for a joint department.

"From time to time a great idea comes along, and this is one of them," said Bonnie Johnson, Cass County coordinator.

Details of the proposed department have yet to be worked out. But the joint city/county department most likely would use existing city and county personnel to coordinate Fargo and Cass' dealings with state and federal disaster assistance, City Administrator Pat Zavoral told the county commission.

"This is something we've been looking at on the staff level for some time, and it seems to make a lot of sense," he said.

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A joint department would be especially helpful when dealing with federal Homeland Security issues, he said.

"We'd like to speak with one voice," he said.

A joint department apparently could be financed with federal funds and money already in city and county budgets, officials said.

County Commissioner Robyn Sorum said a joint department makes good sense.

"I think this would be a winning solution for all of us," she said.

City and county officials now will meet to work out specifics of the proposed department.

Once they've finished, they'll take their plan back to the city and county commissions for final approval.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Jonathan Knutson at (701) 241-5530

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