Smokey Barn News
Friday June 20, 2014
Robertson County, Tenn.
Robertson County De-Funds Robertson County Rescue Squad
Smokey Barn News has learned that Robertson County has decided to no longer fund the Robertson County Rescue Squad for fire protection services. The decision was made at a special meeting held Thursday evening around 5:00pm.
According to Stacey Moore, County Commissioner (District 6) and Chairman for the Fire Committee, a Fire committee meeting was held in conjunction with a budget committee meeting Thursday evening and after a vote it was decided that Robertson County will no longer provide funding for fire services to the Robertson County rescue Squad after July 1st.
According to Moore, the Robertson County Fire Committee is reviewing all of its contracts with fire fighting agencies across the county. It’s a process that is part of a normal yearly evaluation to make sure that fire protection funds are wisely spent.
Robertson County essentially buys fire protection services from a group of decentralized agencies across the county. Its been that way since about 1995 Moore said, when Robertson County moved from having it’s own internal agency to funding external agencies under contract.
According to Moore, all contracted fire protective agencies are contractually obligated to provide multiple documents each year in April. Examples would be, balance sheets, proof of liability insurance and tax returns. According to Moore it’s about accountability for the funds the firefighters receive. In this case Moore said, property taxes and tax returns for the organization were not provided.
“The tax payers in that area still have coverage, they’ve had coverage, and they will continue to have coverage,” Moore said. Adams Fire and North Robertson Fire and rescue have already been providing coverage to the Robertson County Rescue Squad’s coverage area (under automatic and mutual aid agreements) and will continue to do so. “There’s not going to be any lapes in coverage,” Moore said.
According to Moore and Fire Chief Chad Gregory of North Robertson Fire & Rescue, North Robertson Fire & Rescue is in the process of looking to acquire funding to buy the property and assets of the Robertson County Rescue Squad. The assets would include the property, the station building and the trucks along with any serviceable equipment. The goal of North Robertson Fire & Rescue would be to take to over the station and maintain the same fire protection presence in the Cedar Hill area.
The Robertson County Rescue Squad is located across from Jo Byrns Elementary (See Map). Their coverage area is the greater Cedar Hill area from Washington Rd to the State line. According to Fire Chief Gregory, Robertson County officials have indicated that if he is successful securing the necessary funding to acquire the assets of the Robertson County Rescue Squad, Robertson County will make funds available to keep the station operational. “The exact logistics of that (funding) we don’t know, Gregory said.
The Robertson County Fire Committee is now starting the process of renegotiating the contracts and making sure they have contracts with all county fire service providers of which there are nine.
According to Moore, the trigger for the evaluation of all firefighting services and associated contracts across the county was a returned un-deliverable delinquent property tax bill from the county to the Robertson County Rescue Squad. An attempt to reach the owner failed so the Trustee brought the returned mail to a Fire committee meeting. That triggered an evaluation of the Robertson County Rescue Squad’s contract and the decision was made to no longer fund them. According to Moore, the Robertson County Rescue Squad has two paid employees. The disposition of those employees (if North Robertson Fire aquires their station) is unclear.
Moore has only been the Chairman for the Fire Committee for a short time and she’s still getting her hands around all the agencies and the services that they provide. Moore said, “They are all doing an awesome job but at the same time I’m also responsible, our Fire Committee is responsible, our budget committee and all of our commissioners, we are all responsible for the tax payers dollars, that’s why they elect us.”
“In this situation the Fire Committee saw fit to pursue other avenues for the Cedar Hill area,” Moore said.
To see the Robertson County Rescue Squad in action on two recent fires see below stories.
Cedar Hill Home On Stroud Rd A Total Loss After Grease Fire http://youtu.be/rPtweQfz1Fs Fire Destroys Two Robertson County Homes Early Monday (Story TWO) http://youtu.be/mzY3zwPeGAg