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JENNINGS, Mo. - A cash-strapped municipality in north St. Louis County is one step closer to dissolving its fire department.

The city council gave the go-ahead Monday night for the fire department to start collecting signatures from residents to start the process to dissolve the department.

If more than 1,700 residents in Jennings sign the petition, then there will be a public vote in August.

If the department does disband, the city would merge with the Riverview Fire Protection District. All 13 firefighters in the Jennings district would join the Riverview district. No one would be let go.

Dissolving the fire department could save Jennings about $750,000 a year.

The city is no stranger to merging. Three years ago, the police department folded; St. Louis County police patrol the area.

Jennings Fire Chief Joe Zlotopolski said it makes more sense for the smaller, struggling north county departments to merge into a larger district.

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