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SF delays decision on fire service

SF delays decision on fire service

By CHRIS MENEES
Staff Reporter
South Fulton leaders postponed any decision on the city’s rural fire service until after today’s decision by the Obion County Commission.
The South Fulton City Commission met in called session Thursday evening primarily to discuss county-wide rural fire service.
The called session came on the heels of Tuesday’s county fire committee meeting, where the committee voted to recommend to the Obion County Commission that a fire tax be implemented to fund the cost of rural fire protection for county residents. The county com-mission reconvened at 9 this morning to consider the recommendation (see related story, this page).
South Fulton previously opted out of an interlocal agreement to establish a countywide fire protection service for residents outside the established town and city limits and instead opted to continue its own rural fire subscription program.
In the meantime, though, Obion County’s countywide subscription program was halted last month amid the county clerk’s concerns about collecting a fee not authorized by state statute and her subsequent decision to stop collecting the rural fire subscription fees.
During Thursday eve-ning’s called meeting, South Fulton Mayor David Crocker made a motion to table any decision on rural fire service until city officials receive “hard numbers” on revenues for what was being proposed and until the county commission made its decision. His motion was approved.
Obion County Mayor Benny McGuire was on hand and told SF’s city commissioners it would be premature for them to make any decision based on rough figures which have been discussed.
After Tuesday’s fire committee meeting, Mc-Guire sat down with all the mayors or city officials represented and collected information regarding what each city with a fire department would need in order to contract to provide the rural fire protection service for the county.
Crocker said he is concerned about what happens if South Fulton settles on a set monetary amount but then more money is generated by a fire tax. Preliminary figures showed South Fulton would need $55,000, but information from South Fulton also shows as much as $64,000 could potentially be collected in its rural fire coverage area based on 100 percent collection using the current $75 subscription fee.
South Fulton city commissioner Jeff Vowell said his position is that the number of parcels multiplied by subscriptions should equal the dollar amount South Fulton should expect to receive for providing rural fire service.
Crocker also noted South Fulton will continue its existing rural fire subscription program in the meantime until any other decision or change is made.
In other action during Thursday evening’s meeting, the city commission changed the date of the June meeting from the third Thursday, June 21, to the fourth Thursday, June 28, due to a scheduling conflict for the city manager. It was also noted the fourth Thursday is nearer to the end of the fiscal year.
Staff Reporter Chris Menees may be contacted by email at cmenees@ucmessenger.com.

Published in The Messenger 6.1.12

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