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Hornbeak fire chief offers plan

Hornbeak fire chief offers plan
By CHRIS MENEES
Staff Reporter
Hornbeak Fire Chief Bob Reavis is a man with a plan.
He appeared before the Obion County Budget Com-mittee Monday morning to propose a rural fire membership plan which will solve his town’s issue of how to provide rural fire protection.
A countywide rural fire subscription program in existence the past year was halted last month after the county clerk expressed concerns about her office collecting a fee not authorized by state statute and stopped collecting the rural fire subscription fees.
Reavis told the budget committee rural fire protection has been a long fight and the intention was to provide fire protection to everyone, not just subscribers.
In his proposal for the new membership plan, Reavis referenced a copy of a 1990 agreement when Obion County gave the Town of Hornbeak permission to run in a designated area. Pending approval from the Hornbeak board of aldermen and the Municipal Technical Advisory Service, he has devised an agreement with elements of both the 1990 agreement and last year’s now basically defunct interlocal agreement for countywide fire protection.
He intends to run a membership program for Hornbeak’s designated rural fire area and explained there would be a “member rate” for those who voluntarily pay a membership fee, which he likened to the Sam’s Club discount buying concept. Non-members could still receive service “at actual cost,” which would be billed at a rate calculated on the equipment and firefighters which respond to the rural call and the hours involved.
Reavis is seeking the county commission’s authority to sell the service in Hornbeak’s rural coverage area and to reaffirm his designated area.
“I don’t know what every town is going to do. I know what I’m going to do,” Reavis said, explaining he is going to proceed with providing fire protection to everyone in his town’s designated area and try to collect a reasonable amount of money from memberships.
“I’m tired. I want to go home and I want to provide the service and I hope the people will pay,” he added.
Reavis said he has found a way to do billing from a database of rural fire subscribers and will handle that aspect as well for the area to be designated as the Hornbeak Rural Fire District.
The budget committee approved a motion by county commissioner Ralph Puckett to accept Reavis’ plan, with any MTAS changes, and allow him to present it to the full Obion County Commission when it convenes June 18 at 9 a.m. at the courthouse.
The committee also approved a motion for an amendment suggested by county commissioner Jerry Grady to grant permission to any other municipality that wants to provide a membership service and to include some suggestions made by Obion County Mayor Benny McGuire in regard to what Obion County should provide to assist the municipal fire departments in their effort.
Reavis said he cannot speak for any other towns, but he emphasized he wants to handle his own program for Hornbeak, including mailouts for memberships, and said he does not want to be indebted to anyone at the courthouse.
“Send me home and let me do what I do best,” he said.
In other action during Monday morning’s 45-minute meeting, which was opened with prayer led by chairman Danny Jowers, the budget committee:
• Approved placing a resolution to increase the county jail’s booking fee to $20 on the agenda for the upcoming county commission meeting. The committee did not yet have a copy of the resolution Monday.
• Voted to place on the commission agenda the consideration of a tower space lease between the Obion County Board of Education and Wood Communications.
• Approved 2012-13 budget requests for the Board of Equalization and the assessor of property as presented by Obion County Assessor of Property Judy Smith.
Mrs. Smith said the assessor’s budget has a few increases due to next year’s reappraisal, as well as an increase in costs for regular office work and postage. Commissioners learned the postage increase is largely due to a change in mailouts from a card to a letter, required due to the state changing the format with the state’s new computer system, and Jowers expressed frustration over another “state-mandated” change which negatively affects local government.
• Accepted an amendment on a 2012-13 budget request for the county clerk’s office from Obion County Clerk Vollie Boehms.
• Voted to place a list of notary public applications on the commission’s agenda.
• Scheduled a budget meeting for June 19 at 9 a.m. to finalize the 2012-13 budget. The meeting was initially set for June 12 but was later rescheduled due to a conflict realized after the meeting adjourned.
Among the budgets remaining to be reviewed by the committee is the Obion County School System’s budget.
• Tabled a report on the Indigent Care Trust Fund until the July session.
Budget committee vice chairman Sam Sinclair Jr. was absent from the meeting.
Staff Reporter Chris Menees may be contacted by email at cmenees@ucmessenger.com. Published in The Messenger 6.5.12

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