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Montevideo American-News - Montevideo, MN
  • Judge rules for Watson in fire department lawsuit

  • On June 4, 2012, the Montevideo City Council agreed to provide fire protection for the city of Watson, at the request of the city of Watson.
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  • On June 4, 2012, the Montevideo City Council agreed to provide fire protection for the city of Watson, at the request of the city of Watson.
    At that time, the Watson Community Firefighters were in the process of suing the city of Watson for what they believed was a breach of contract.
    On Oct. 1 of this year, District Judge Dwayne Knutsen ruled in favor of the city of Watson, freeing them up to continue contracting with Montevideo for fire protection.
    The Watson Community Firefighters, which are comprised of three Watson residents and 10 Monte­video residents, had brought forward the civil lawsuit on the grounds that the city of Watson was obligated to contract with it for protection  under the terms of a 1993 contract when they were known as the Upper Minnesota Valley Fire Association. They contended that the contract at that time lasted for 25 years — until 2018 — and that the city of Watson must continue to work with them.
    On the other side, the city of Watson claimed that contracts approved in the years following 1993 changed the agreement to one-year contracts. They provided copies of the agreements, which contained changes from the original 1993 contract. It was the belief of the Watson Community Firefighters that the following contracts were merely billings and did not represent any change.
    The city of Watson is continuing the contract with the city of Montevideo on a yearly basis, with a base fee of $1,385, compared to the base fee of $11,000 they had been paying to the Watson Community Fire­fighters.
    Montevideo City Manager Steve Jones explained that the fee was based on property evaluations, using the same formula the city uses for charging townships for fire protection services.
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