Rural fire fee numbers presented to public safety committee

Rural fire fee numbers presented to public safety committee

Through funds from Homeland Security, the Weakley County Office of Emergency Management will bring in a new bomb dog to replace the current one who is nearing retirement.
In a meeting of the Weakley County Public Safety Committee held Thursday morning, Chairman Jack Vincent announced that additional monies in the amount of $13,000 were being given through the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency and the committee reviewed the findings as Resolution 2001-21.
Weakley County Emergency 911 Director Jamison Peevyhouse explained that Homeland Security had started issuing the grants two years ago and now, they had been modified to be more specific.
“The money will be used to replace the current bomb dog and must be expended by June 30,” Peevyhouse commented.
The current bomb dog is housed through the Martin Police Department and receives care from the $600 a year overtime money that is accrued from the police department. According to Peevyhouse, bomb dogs have an average work expectancy of five to seven years.
The 100 percent grant passed unanimously with the committee.
Vincent announced that information relating to the rural fire fee study had been emailed.
“It looks to me that the fee is different for nearly every area in the study,” Commissioner Bob Bell remarked. “I’m just surprised there’s not more participation than we already have.”
“Most subscribers have been up since the South Fulton fire incident,” Peevyhouse added. “Everyone seems to be fluttering between $50 and $100 for the fees.”
The results of the study, set up as a chart, included December 2010 statistics on rural residences, current paid subscribers, yearly subscription fee, response to unpaid subscribers and extra notes for Martin Fire, South Fulton, Latham Fire, Sharon Fire, Ore Springs Fire, Greenfield Fire, Palmersville Fire, Pillowville Fire, Gleason Fire, Sidonia Fire, McKenzie Fire and Dresden Fire. Within the county, Martin Fire has 1,827 rural residences, 1,300 current paid subscriptions, a $100 yearly subscription fee, does respond to unpaid subscribers and has a rate of $750 for paid and $2,500 for unpaid. Sharon Fire has 379 rural residences, 239 current paid subscribers, a $75 yearly subscription fee and response to unpaid subscribers. Greenfield Fire has 600 rural residences, 356 current paid subscriptions, a $75 yearly subscription fee, response to unpaid subscribers and has a rate of $750 for paid and $2,500 for unpaid. Palmersville Fire has 676 rural residences, 300 current paid subscriptions, a $50 yearly subscription fee and response to unpaid subscribers.
Gleason Fire has 657 rural residences, 242 current paid subscriptions, a $75 yearly subscription fee, response to unpaid subscribers and a rate of $750 for paid and $1,500 for unpaid. Dresden Fire has 814 rural residences, 398 current paid subscriptions, a $100 yearly subscription fee, response to unpaid subscribers and a rate of $750 for paid and $1,300 for unpaid. The entire total, excluding McKenzie, includes 7,048 rural residences, 3,628 current paid subscriptions and an average fee of $69. That’s 51.48 percent of rural residences as current paid subscriptions.
“Everyone in the county has answered the call,” Bell continued. “They ought to encourage people to support this. It’s not mandatory, obviously.”
“The insurance company is billed and it is paid 100 percent (for paid subscribers),” Peevyhouse commented. “If not, it’s up to the person to pay.”
Recently, the juvenile court was moved from the first floor of the courthouse due to heavy traffic congregating in the hallway from visitors to the court and the county clerk’s office.
Currently, juvenile court is occupying courtrooms on the second floor – normally used for general sessions and circuit court – and the excess traffic is interfering with the normal flow through the circuit court and general sessions offices.
“About four or five weeks ago, we were given juvenile court one Tuesday,” Circuit Court Clerk Pam Belew explained. “It’s been moved to the second floor. There were only six days out of a month that we weren’t having court there, but now that number has dropped to two.”
Belew admitted that she hadn’t come to complain, but felt it was necessary to inform committee members that the extra traffic and extra unrelated conversations were beginning to have an effect on workers in the circuit court office and that Judge Jim Bradberry was not adjusting well to the move on the second floor and didn’t adjust well to a short move to the third floor.
“Judge Bradberry needs to be familiar with his surroundings and people are getting frustrated and mad with the situation now,” Belew continued. “We need a solution down the road, not immediate, but down the road for sure.”
Juvenile Court officer Keith Jones emphasized the need to use the second floor courtrooms, especially on child support cases.
“It’s an issue of privacy, of law enforcement and of witnesses. We have to have a closed courtroom because of the delicate nature of the cases. Between three and four times a week, we need to be closed, but it becomes an issue with those people in the hallway. The third floor is not a conventional forum, the second works fine with the exception of creating a nightmare for Pam and her workers,” Jones explained.
The idea of possibly moving juvenile court into the agriculture office and moving the agriculture office elsewhere came up as a solution.
“We (juvenile court) are manageable as we are now,” Jones admitted. “The only issue is the interruption it creates with Ms. Pam and her staff. We’re good where we are. We’re not fussing.”
“There’s no easy fix now. Moving upstairs only moved the problem. I think we may look at moving downstairs eventually, but as you know, money is tight. This is our short-term fix now and we appreciate all your help and efforts. On Thursday at 10 a.m., the HEED committee will meet up there,” Vincent responded.
“We appreciate you and Judge Bradberry. We’ve been trying. Don’t give up on us. We’re looking at buildings.”

WCP 1.11.11

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