Troy mayor douses rural fire pact plans
Posted: Tuesday, April 20, 2010 9:05 pm
By: Donna Ryder, Associate Editor
By DONNA RYDER
Troy Mayor Jimmie Hart said he does not feel comfortable asking the board of aldermen to have him sign an agreement between the town and Obion County concerning rural fire protection.
At Monday night’s board meeting, Hart said he has several concerns with the plan as it is currently written. He said he expressed those concerns when mayors, fire chiefs and other citizens in the rural towns met at Troy City Hall on Thursday.
The mayor said, first of all, he does not like the county charging a 5 percent fee for collecting subscription money. “We’re doing this for the county,” he said. “I think they ought to do it for nothing.”
He said he also doesn’t like the fact that the county is asking each town to fund their fire department at their current rates for a period of five years. Hart said the cities won’t know what the economic situation will be and can’t guarantee there will be enough money to maintain their current budgets.
He also doesn’t like it that the county wants to evaluate the departments and that the county wants to be held harmless.
Simply put, he said, “The county is not interested in rural fire protection or putting money in any way into a county fire department.”
Alderman Gene Gurien said he doesn’t like the fact that the money would be divided evenly between the rural departments. He said because Troy is in the middle of the county, it would be responding to every fire in the county. “It’s not fair for our taxpayers to fund fire protection for everyone,” he said.
Fire Chief Mark Watson said the plan is in its third draft and they are still talking through points they like and don’t like. He said it needs to be polished by attorneys from the cities, as well as from Municipal Technical Advisory Service and County Technical Assistance Service.
“I can’t, with a clear conscience, ask this board to have me sign this yet,” Hart said.
In other business, the board:
• Heard from Obion County General Sessions Judge Jimmy Smith, who invited the town to utilize members of the community who are on probation and who are required to perform community service.
He said there are a little over 100 people currently on probation who are required to perform community service work. He said the program is being used for non-profit organizations, such as Helping Hand and Habitat for Humanity, but he believes it would also be beneficial to the cities.
Hart said he can also see the advantage since the town currently has to pick up inmates, have someone supervise them, feed them and take them back to the jail. If the town utilizes those people who are on probation, they will just report to someone with the town and perform their task.
Smith said these people “need to repay their debt to society.”
• Learned the town is in the process of putting out for bid the relocation of utility lines across Polk and Wolverine roads where Interstate-69 is being built. The work has to be done by July, Hart said.
• Was informed the town has two container cars for storing items from the maintenance building until a new one can be built. The spec building is also being used to store supplies. Hart said specs are available at City Hall for anyone who wishes to submit a bid. Five have already been received.
• Was reminded of elected officials training Friday and Saturday in Dyersburg.
• Heard the loans from USDA and Tennessee have been paid off and the town is now debt free.
• Learned the gas agent was to be in Troy today. A meeting was being held between the several towns that utilize his services.
• When reviewing the bills, noted police officers are offered a retirement plan. Gurien said he recently had someone come to him complaining that police officers have no retirement plan.
Associate Editor Donna Ryder can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com.
Published in The Messenger 4.21.10