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477B.02 QUALIFYING FOR FIRE STATE AID.

Subdivision 1.Qualifications for fire state aid.

A municipality or independent nonprofit firefighting corporation qualifies to receive fire state aid if all the requirements of this section are met.

Subd. 2.Establishment of fire department.

(a) An independent nonprofit firefighting corporation must be created under the nonprofit corporation act of this state operating for the exclusive purpose of firefighting, or the governing body of a municipality must officially establish a fire department.

(b) The fire department must have provided firefighting services for at least one calendar year.

Subd. 3.Personnel and benefits requirements.

(a) A fire department must have a minimum of ten paid or volunteer firefighters, including a fire chief and assistant fire chief.

(b) The fire department must have regular scheduled meetings and frequent drills that include instructions in firefighting tactics and in the use, care, and operation of all fire apparatus and equipment.

(c) The fire department must have a separate subsidiary incorporated firefighters' relief association that provides retirement benefits or must participate in the voluntary statewide volunteer firefighter retirement plan; or if the municipality solely employs full-time firefighters as defined in section 299N.03, subdivision 5, retirement coverage must be provided by the public employees police and fire retirement plan.

(d) Notwithstanding paragraph (c), a municipality without a relief association as described under section 424A.08, paragraph (a), may still qualify to receive fire state aid if all other requirements of this section are met.

Subd. 4.Equipment requirements.

The fire department must have all of the following equipment, or the equivalent as determined by the state fire marshal, by December 31 of the year preceding the certification required in subdivision 8:

(1) a motorized fire truck equipped with:

(i) a motorized pump;

(ii) a 250-gallon or larger water tank;

(iii) 300 feet of one inch or larger fire hose in two lines with combination spray and straight stream nozzles;

(iv) five-gallon hand pumps - tank extinguisher or equivalent;

(v) a dry chemical extinguisher or equivalent;

(vi) ladders;

(vii) extension ladders;

(viii) pike poles;

(ix) crowbars;

(x) axes;

(xi) lanterns; and

(xii) fire coats, helmets, and boots;

(2) the items in clause (1) suitably housed in a building of good construction with facilities for care of hoses and equipment;

(3) a reliable and adequate method of receiving fire alarms by telephone or with electric siren and suitable means of sounding an alarm; and

(4) if response is to be provided outside the corporate limits of the municipality where the fire department is located, another piece of motorized apparatus to make the response.

Subd. 5.Fire service contract or agreement; apportionment agreement filing requirement.

(a) Every municipality or independent nonprofit firefighting corporation must file a copy of any duly executed and valid fire service contract or agreement with the commissioner.

(b) If more than one fire department provides service to a municipality, the fire departments furnishing service must enter into an agreement apportioning among themselves the percentage of the population and the percentage of the estimated market value of each shared service fire department service area. The agreement must be in writing and must be filed with the commissioner.

Subd. 6.Compliance with rules.

The fire department must meet all other requirements that the commissioner establishes by rule.

Subd. 7.Financial reporting requirements.

The financial reporting requirements of section 424A.014 must be satisfied.

Subd. 8.PERA certification to commissioner.

On or before February 1 each year, if retirement coverage for a fire department is provided by the voluntary statewide volunteer firefighter retirement plan, the executive director of the Public Employees Retirement Association must certify the existence of retirement coverage.

Subd. 9.Fire department certification to commissioner.

On or before March 15 of each year, the municipal clerk or the secretary, and the fire chief, must jointly certify to the commissioner that the fire department exists and meets the qualification requirements of this section. The certification must be on a form prescribed by the commissioner and must include all other information that the commissioner requires.

Subd. 10.Penalty for failure to file certification.

(a) If the certification under subdivision 9 is not filed with the commissioner on or before March 15, the commissioner must notify the municipal clerk or the secretary that a penalty equal to a portion or all of the current year aid will apply if the certification is not received within ten days of the postmark date of the notification.

(b) The penalty for failure to file the certification under subdivision 9 is equal to the amount of fire state aid determined for the municipality or the independent nonprofit firefighting corporation for the current year, multiplied by five percent for each week or fraction of a week that the certification is late. The penalty must be computed beginning ten days after the postmark date of the commissioner's notification. Aid amounts forfeited as a result of the penalty revert to the state general fund. Failure to receive the certification form is not a defense for a failure to file.

Subd. 11.Determination by commissioner.

The commissioner must determine which municipalities and independent nonprofit firefighting corporations are qualified to receive fire state aid directly or are qualified to receive the benefit of fire state aid paid to the voluntary statewide volunteer firefighter retirement plan based on compliance with the requirements of this section and the financial compliance report required under section 6.495, subdivision 3, if applicable. The commissioner may take into account any other relevant information that comes to the attention of the commissioner when making the determination.

NOTE: This section, as added by Laws 2019, First Special Session chapter 6, article 19, section 2, is effective for aids payable in 2020 and thereafter. Laws 2019, First Special Session chapter 6, article 19, section 2, the effective date.