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Rives officials back membership program

Rives officials back membership program

The Messenger 06.19.12

By KEVIN BOWDEN
Staff Reporter
Rives’ mayor and board of aldermen is joining with Hornbeak and Samburg to offer rural fire protection through a membership program.
The membership program is good news for the estimated 430 rural residents who live outside the town’s city limits and within the Rives Volunteer Fire Department’s 70-square-mile fire district.
The Rives board unanimously approved the membership plan as it was presented by board member Jay Moore during a called meeting Monday evening. Moore also serves as a member of the Rives Volunteer Fire Department and explained in detail how the new plan will work.
“We’re responding to everything,” Moore said during the meeting.
Residents who live within Rives’ fire district will be asked to pay a $75 annual fee for fire protection. The new membership program was officially approved by the Obion County Commission Monday morning.
Now, communities like Rives, Samburg and Hornbeak have the green light to offer the rural fire protection plan to those who live in the rural area outside the city limits.
“This is the exact same plan that Hornbeak and Samburg are doing,” Moore said.
Rives, like Hornbeak and Samburg, will contract with Brian Davis to manage the program.
The Rives plan will provide members with one free call per year, after which members will be charged $500 per call. Non-members will be charged a minimum of $2,000 per fire call based on a billing scale that takes into account the amount of equipment, number of firefighters and the time spent on a fire call.
Letters will be mailed out to potential members and the Rives board has set July 2-Aug. 18 as the first billing cycle for the rural fire protection plan.
“This will cover our entire district,” Moore told the board.
He added the new plan will go into effect immediately.
It was also pointed out during the meeting that in the 2011 calendar year, the Rives fire department responded to more than 50 fires, all of them outside the Rives city limits.
Also during Monday evening’s hour and 20-minute long meeting, the Rives board approved the first of two readings for a 2012-13 city budget.
Second and final approval of the new budget will come up for consideration at a called meeting set for 6 Monday night at Rives City Hall.
The board’s proposed new budget estimates about $100,000 in revenues and expenses for the city’s General Fund. Under the new budget, the board is increasing the town’s property tax rate from nearly $1.83 to $2 and is increasing the monthly fee for garbage collection from $15 to $18.
The rate increases are necessary in order for the board to balance its budget.
Currently, the city is losing money (about $300 a month) on garbage collection. City recorder LaVonda Humphries told The Messenger the city is paying Barker Brothers Waste Inc. about $2,000 a month and is only collecting about $1,700 a month for the service.
As for the money that will be collected from the rural fire program, a separate account is being set up by the city. It is estimated the membership drive for the rural fire protection program will generate about $22,450 for the fire department.
In other action, the board:
• Approved a resolution to apply for a $385,740 federal grant for drainage improvements in the city.
Staff Reporter Kevin Bowden may be contacted by email at kmbowden@ucmessenger.com.

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