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Scio's board has already voted in favor of consolidation, and Dexter village is likely to approve it. In Dexter Township, Rider says of his own board, "There're strong opinions on both sides, but the majority is open-minded about seeing what's the best bang for the buck and what's the best for the citizens." But Webster's trustees balked at their January meeting. "They don't necessarily think bigger is better," Kinglsey said afterwards, "and they need to see clear advantages in cost savings and response times." Kingsley believes consolidation will deliver those advantages; whether or not his colleagues agree will likely determine the fate of the consolidation plan.

What about the name? "That is the single biggest sticking point," says Rider. "There's so much pride of ownership. It's always been the Dexter Area Fire Department even before Scio split off ... Some people in Dexter say, hey, we've got the larger department, and you guys asked to come in with us, so you should take our name."

Scio's Clark doesn't see it that way. "I don't think any of us have a strong feeling for what it ought to be called--except it won't be called either the Scio or the Dexter fire department. Both fire departments feel allegiance to their names, but it needs a new name because it's a new beginning."

"There's a lot of pride in the old names," says Keough. "But all the supervisors agree we need something everybody can be part of. The heritage is still there, but we need a new start."

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