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Troy officials voice opposition to subscription fee

Troy officials voice opposition to subscription fee

Posted: Tuesday, April 7, 2009 9:07 pm
By: Donna Ryder Messenger Associate Editor

 By DONNA RYDER

Messenger Associate Editor

Troy’s mayor and board of aldermen made it clear Monday night they are against any rural fire service program which involves a subscription fee.

Fire Chief Mark Watson read from a letter sent to the town by Obion County Mayor Benny McGuire briefly explaining the proposals voted on by the county’s budget committee Monday and to be sent to the full county commission on April 20.

Proposal No. 1 would be a mandatory fire fee on all property dwellings outside municipalities, to be collected by the county for a fee, and remitted to the cities.

Proposal No. 2 would call for the county to contract with each city to collect voluntary subscriptions outside each municipality. The county would collect the fee and remit the revenue to each city.

McGuire asks in the letter, “Will you contract with Obion County to collect subscriptions if the mandatory fire fee is not approved at the April session of the legislative body?”

“Our answer is ‘no.’ We’re not interested in any subscription,” Mayor Jimmie Hart said, with agreement from several board members.

Watson told the board it has been the intention of the fire chiefs all along that they not have a subscription plan. He said Proposal No. 2 “puts us back in the same scenario” as what some county commissioners have been proposing.

Watson said Proposal No. 1 could call for a tiered system based on occupied dwellings or ISO ratings. It would be up to the county commissioners to set the rates based on what they know they will need to fund the fire departments.

Alderman Jesse Whitesides made the motion, which was approved unanimously, that the Troy board of aldermen is “totally against Proposal No. 2.”

Hart said the board would consider Proposal No. 1, while Watson said it is basically what they’ve been asking for all along.

Alderman Deanna Chappell said a lot of progress has been made. Hart agreed saying they’re getting closer than they have ever been before.

Watson reminded the board this process will not happen overnight and the county leaders have stated, if passed, they will try to have it implemented by Oct. 1.

Whitesides said if it looks like Proposal No. 1 will be implemented, the city can decide to extend the June 30 date to stop rural fire calls. “We can extend the time as long as progress is being made. We need to be willing to work with them. But if it bogs down in negotiation, we can still cut this thing off.”

Watson said he and the other chiefs plan to meet soon and start tweaking the county fire district map in anticipation of Proposal No. 1 passing. He said the cities need to take on the area in their 20-year growth plan and they will need to map out the five-mile road area, which insurance companies state will be covered under the fire department’s ISO rating.

Once the map has been tweaked, the chiefs will go to their respective boards to have the map tentatively approved in anticipation of Proposal No. 1’s enactment.

In other business, the board:

• Expressed its pleasure that the community center at Trojan Park was used 13 times in March. Hart noted he has ordered six new tables and 50 new chairs for the facility.

• Learned the cost of the audit will be divided among several departments.

• Was informed 10 items were submitted to the state as unclaimed property. City recorder Cheryl Cranford explained they are mostly deposits which are owed to people the city can’t find.

• Heard the city’s health insurance company has informed the mayor the city will be charged an additional $50 per month for each employee who uses tobacco products. Hart said the city currently doesn’t have anyone who uses tobacco, but should the city have an employee who does in the future, the individual will be charged the extra fee.

• Awarded a bid for $32,840 to Cottrell Electric in Dyersburg to install the proper electrical connections for generators at the water plant, the well and the five lift stations. The connections will include a double throw switch.

The board started considering the need to have the property generator-ready after January’s ice storm caused problems for cities north of Obion County. Hart said the town has never run out of water since he has been on the board. He said there is a two-day supply available without pumping.

Whitesides said there is a two-day supply if the town doesn’t have a fire to fight. He also said if the town had been without electricity like their northern neighbors, they would have been without water.

“It’s not a waste of money,” Whitesides added, saying the town will have to have the electrical work done whether they purchase a generator or not.

The board had decided at an earlier meeting that it was best to rent a generator should the need arise.

• Agreed to purchase architectural shingles for the Wedding Chapel and to have B&B Roofing install them. Several of the shingles were blown off the front portion of the building during a recent storm and the roof is leaking “fairly bad,” according to the mayor. Only the front portion of the roof will be replaced, as the back still looks new.

• Discussed changing the meeting time during the summer months to 7 p.m. Hart said he did not like the 6 p.m. time because it comes at dinner time. He said he would prefer 5 p.m. in the winter months and 7 in the summer. No decision was made.

• Learned the town is trying out a new police officer, who sent himself through the police academy, and a new animal control officer.

• Heard from Mrs. Chappell that the walking track really looks good.

Alderman Gene Gurien was absent.

Associate Editor Donna Ryder can be contacted by e-mail at dryder@ucmessenger.com.

Published in The Messenger 4.07.09