County residents could lose city fire services - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

County residents could lose city fire services

July 8, 2003

Tifton- The Tifton fire department frequently responds to calls outside Tifton city limits, but that may soon change.

For 15 years the City of Tifton had a verbal agreement with Tift County to provide first response fire suppression services to unincorporated portions of the county for a fee of $51,364.17. Now, the city wants that agreement in writing.

"Last year we received some delay in receiving payment, and in order to plan for budget in tight budget times we felt it necessary to have a formalized written agreement in the form of a contract," says Mayor Paul Johnson.

Johnson says the city has tried for months to get county officials to make their agreement formal, but that hasn't happened yet and the city is putting fire to the county's feet.

"As stated in our proposal to the Tift County Commission failure to respond back by July 15th would signal to us that they are no longer in need of the City of Tifton fire services, and we would terminate that service immediately," explains Johnson.

In fact, Johnson says the original agreement expired July 1st. Since then, firemen have responded to nine calls outside city limits as a good faith measure, but if the county doesn't sign the contract by 5 PM on July 15th, the city's good faith will expire.

Tift County does have a volunteer fire department that regularly responds to calls in the county.

County Commissioners could not be reached for comment.

Posted at 5:45 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com

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