Residents in south Davis County may rejoice: A proposal that would have created a new government body capable of taxing them probably has died.

A committee has recommended that the South Davis Fire District, now a loose-knit association of four cities, not become a special service district. The recommendation will be made to the district's governing board later this month.Some officials in the department, which provides protection for about 60,000 people, wanted to become a service district so they wouldn't have to answer to city councils for every decision.

Now, a reworked "interlocal agreement" will give them that but still allow the cities some control. If the recommendation becomes reality, the department's board can:

- Buy equipment and approve the annual budget without having to get permission from each of the city councils involved. The association serves Centerville, Woods Cross, West Bountiful, North Salt Lake and part of unincorporated Davis County.

- Borrow money without the full vote of each city council.

Each city will still have its say, however. The board would be composed of two representatives from each municipality, instead of just one. One representative would be the mayor or a city council member and the second could be a resident.

Fire Chief John Speed likes the recommendation. "This would give us the power we need to conduct business in a way that is good for citizens but still give the cities control through their representatives," he said.

The new interlocal agreement could also change how much each city pays annually for protection, which is currently based only on assessed property valuation. Centerville pays the most, $225,000, and West Bountiful the least, $129,000.

The new agreement would factor into the payments a "risk assessment" and the number of calls per year.

The governing board will hear the recommendation at its meeting Monday, Jan. 31.