Troy board approves fire protection agreement
Posted: Tuesday, August 17, 2010 9:17 pm
By: Donna Ryder, Associate Editor
By DONNA RYDER
It’s not what Troy Mayor Jimmie Hart wanted, but it’s what he and board members accepted to help other fire departments in the county.
The Troy board of aldermen approved an interlocal agreement for county-wide fire protection Monday night that calls for the county to collect fees for fire protection county-wide with that money distributed to the municipal fire departments.
“It’s not what I would like,” Hart said, adding it is his opinion the county should help fund a county fire department, just the same as it helps to fund the county library and the county sheriff’s department with public money.
In fact, the county is putting no public funds into the fire departments and instead will be taking 5 percent from the fees to pay for administration costs. There is a provision in the contract which states Obion County will provide on an annual basis funds totaling no more than $5,000 per muncipalitiy toward the fire department’s portion of grants that are awarded by other agencies. Of course, there would be no public money for departments which are unable to obtain grants.
“They ought to assume that 5 percent because they will not put anything into it,” Hart said.
“I would not advise you to vote for it except we have neighboring towns with no fire department budgets,” the mayor said. “In the long run, what the money will do is help them have a fire department and it will help us because we won’t have to go to Samburg to fight a fire.”
The one change Hart was able to make from prior drafts of the agreement was the length of the contract. The county wanted the agreement to be for five years, whereas Hart wanted it to be for one.
The agreement — which will be between Hornbeak, Kenton, Obion, Rives, Samburg, Troy, Union City, Obion County Emergency Communications District and Obion County (South Fulton has opted out of the agreement) — calls for the fire departments to set a standard fee and to agree to a Rural Fire Service Area where they would respond as the primary agency. The amount is $75.
A separate subscription fee will be charged for each parcel as classified on the county tax assessor’s map, with a single owner to be charged for no more than five separate parcels unless those parcels are in another fire department’s rural protection area. The annual rate will be reviewed each year.
Union City will receive all subscription fees, less the 5 percent collection fee, from its Rural Fire Service Area. The subscription fees collected in the service areas for Hornbeak, Kenton, Obion, Rives, Samburg and Troy will be divided equally between the six towns, less the 5 percent collection fee. The subscriptions will be collected by the Obion County Trustee’s office.
Obion County Emergency Communications District will serve as the fire dispatch agency for all municipalities which enter into the agreement, except Kenton, and shall provide a list of numerical addresses which serve as the boundary lines for the Rural Fire Service Area to the trustee’s office. The trustee’s office will enter all required information into an Internet-protocol based program not less than daily to ensure alll citizens who have purchased a subscription contract have been properly identified once their monies have been collected by Obion County.
Each department also agrees to respond only as the primary department to fire calls for properties which have a paid subscription, except in the following cases: Human life is endangered as a direct result of a fire on a non-subscriber property or if the fire subscription lookup system is unavailable for usage.
Customers who pay the subscription fee agree to pay a $500 fire call fee for each response made by the provider to the subscribed properties. The customer’s insurance may be billed for each fire call fee. Customers will be responsible for any deficiency in the payment fee that the insurance company does not pay. If the customer has no insurance coverage, then the customer will be responsible for the payment of the fire call fee. If the fire call fee is not paid within 61 days from the date of the first billing by the provider, then the unpaid amount will be placed with a collection agency for collection. Any uncollected amount can be placed on the customer’s credit bureau file as unpaid collection amount. Additionally, future responses may be withheld until past due amounts, collection fees, attorney fees and other expenses have been paid in full.
Customers will be required to display their home address with reflective numbers and letters at the road so that emergency personnel can locate the address in the event of an emergency. The provider will not be held liable for extended response time due to the inability to locate an address, the contract states.
Subscription fees will be non-refundable.
In other business, the board:
• Renewed CDs in the water, gas and sewer funds.
• Approved a resolution which requires people requesting certain information from City Hall to fill out a request form and to sign it stating the information was received. A denial letter is also available to be kept on record if City Hall refuses to supply the requested information. Hart said there are attorneys who call from out of town requesting information and they, too, will have to come to City Hall in person or designate some to pick up that information.
• Received a report on the town’s health insurance. Alderman Ralph Wheatley said the insurance coverage is among the best he has seen. This year’s offering will include two tiers — a standard PPO coverage and a partnership PPO coverage. The standard is the same as the current insurance. The partnership PPO coverage is the same as the standard coverage except it is cheaper for the city and the employees get a better deductible and co-pay. The catch is that employees must agree to actively take steps to better their health. They must agree to take certain tests and take their medications or lose weight if that is what is called for to raise their level of health. Everyone will quality for the partnership PPO coverage the first year and will not be dropped the second. Everyone qualifies for the standard coverage.
• Learned the new roof is on the bank building and the former church building, which had been used as The Wedding Chapel, is now being leased by a church group. That group is cleaning the building, painting and making necessary repairs. The group has requested a dehumidifier be purchased for the basement.
• Was told the coolers were being installed in the E.W. James building this week and the maintenance shop will be erected starting Wednesday.
• Heard the county would charge $1 plus 5 percent to collect city sticker fees.
• Discussed hiring someone to perform regular maintenance on the town’s air conditioning systems.
Associate Editor Donna Ryder can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com.
Published in The Messenger 8.17.10