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Community’s fire chief optimistic new membership plan will work

Community’s fire chief optimistic new membership plan will work
By KEVIN BOWDEN
Staff Reporter
A new rural fire protection plan is coming into play and Samburg Fire Chief Ken Hogg is optimistic the new plan will work for the Samburg area.
He met with the Samburg mayor and board of aldermen Monday night to brief the board on the new membership program being designed by Hornbeak Fire Chief Bob Reavis.
Rural fire departments across Obion County are facing a July 1 deadline, after which the county’s subscription program for rural fire protection will shut down. The Samburg board voted unanimously Monday night to have the Samburg Volunteer Fire Department continue to respond to fires outside the city limits.
Meanwhile, Hogg told the board he is working with Reavis on a membership plan that would replace the county’s subscription program.
“This is something we can’t put off,” Samburg board member and volunteer firefighter Eddie Fickle said.
“The county government is not going to do anything on this,” Hogg said about the issue of countywide fire protection. “This is the best idea we have right now.”
Under the proposed membership plan, Samburg firefighters would respond to all rural fire calls in their area. Those who have voluntarily paid a membership fee would be covered for the call, while those who have not paid a membership fee would be billed for the fire call. The amount of the bill for non-members would be based on the amount of equipment and the number of firefighters used to respond to the fire call.
In March, the Samburg board granted final approval to an ordinance establishing rural fire call fees. Under that ordinance, there would be a minimum $2,000 fee charged for a rural fire call. Additional charges would be added based on the amount of time spent fighting a fire and the amount of equipment used.
For instance, the fire department will charge $575 per hour for a fire en-gine, $570 per hour for a tanker truck, $56 per hour for a chief officer and $44 per hour per firefighter on the scene.
Hogg said he is working with Reavis on the details of the proposed new membership plan and hopes to have the new plan in place by the end of June. There is even some consideration being given to a possible cooperative agreement between Samburg and Hornbeak.
The membership plan differs from the county’s subscription program in that the Samburg Volunteer Fire Department would respond to all rural fires within its fire zone and would bill only non-members for the call. Under the county’s subscription program, firefighters would only respond to rural fires where the owner has paid a subscription fee to the county.
Also during Monday night’s more than hour-long Samburg board meeting, it was revealed that work on a new Samburg city charter is nearly complete.
Earlier this month, board members spent more than three hours at Samburg City Hall drafting a new city charter. The new draft is expected to be typed and delivered to members of the board within the next few days. A called meeting has been set for 3:30 p.m. June 13, when the board is expected to review the new charter and approve the first of two required readings of the document.
The new city charter will replace the city’s 1947 city charter.
In other action Monday night, the Samburg board:
• Approved the second and final reading of a new ordinance formally establishing the office of a municipal judge for Samburg.
• Decided to ask Alton Hays to meet with the board next month to discuss his claim the city owes him $2,000 over a property dispute.
• Agreed to establish designated speed limits around town through a new city ordinance. The speed limit coming into Samburg on Highway 22 West from the north will be 45 miles per hour, the speed limit along Highway 22 West through town will be 35 miles per hour, and the speed limit in all other areas of town will be 20 miles per hour. The new speed limit ordinance will be formally considered at the board’s June 13 called meeting.
• Was informed there is a plan being worked on to have Samburg take over the city’s sewer system from the Reelfoot Utility District by early September. The city currently owns the sewer lines in the city, which serve about 122 residences and 22 businesses.
It was brought up during the discussion that the city would be able to lower sewer rates once the takeover is completed.
• Was given an update from the town’s tourism committee, which has new tourism brochures and is planning a summer celebration all day Saturday in the city park.
• Was informed work is continuing on a plan to evaluate the city’s street light system to determine if fewer street lights are needed around town. It was revealed at the meeting the city is currently paying about $670 a month for its 78 street lights.
• Discussed, but took no action on, a proposal to keep the city’s patrol car in Samburg rather than allowing Samburg Police Chief James Hack to take the care home with him.
• Was told by Fickle that he is still working on a proposal for a planned new tractor shed and a new heating and air conditioning system for the new City Hall. It is estimated the new tractor shed will cost about $10,000 and the cost for a heating and air conditioning system will cost about $11,500.
• Agreed to consider a new garbage pick-up ordinance proposed by board member Sharon Cunningham. The proposed ordinance would make property owners ultimately responsible for delinquent garbage collection fees in the city. The proposed new ordinance will come up at the board’s June 13 called meeting. She also proposed an ordinance that would require any digging on city property — including along streets and in ditches — to first be approved by city officials.
Absent from Monday’s meeting was board member Shelly Arnett.
Published in The Messenger 6.6.12

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