Thomas Countians worry over change in fire service - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Thomas Countians worry over change in fire service

January 4, 2006

Thomasville- A meeting about the city's fire insurance ratings quickly changed course Thursday in Thomasville.  Home and business owners voiced concern about the recently expired contract between the city and county.

For over forty years Thomasville has agreed to provide fire protection for Thomas County. But that contract ended after the two parties failed to agree on a cost to continue that protection.

Now unless a new contract is proposed and agreed on, Thomas County will have to come up with the resources and manpower to do it on their own.

Thomasville city manager Steve Sykes says the contract between the city and Thomas County has been effective for both parties since 1965. He thinks its worth keeping.

"The city's proposal is we've already got a fire department we already have fire stations. Let us deliver that service and save you money, tax money," said Sykes. 

The latest agreement was a five year contract that the City would protect fire zones one and two of the county.  In order to continue, that contract had to be re-negotiated by the end of 2006- that didn't happen. Instead the county had to make other plans.

County commission chairman Josh Herring said "that's what we did, the board of commissioners did in December was to notify the city that we are making plans to give that fire district one and two fire protection."

The city could continue the protection, if both parties come to a new agreement, but it would be all new terms.  "At this point, the city has made its offer, there's really nothing else that we can do. If the county wants to rethink its agreement, we'd be willing to entertain that," said Sykes. 

If the county and city don't reach a new agreement, the county would then protect fire zones one and two. The county is open to further negotiations but are prepared to take over.

"Hopefully there can be an agreement reached, but if not than were in a position that we can give that fire protection," said Herring.

Whether the quality of fire protection will suffer, and how it will effect them financially are the questions of the community. And at this point, neither the city nor the county has answers.

If the county does take over the protection of districts one and two, it won't be until January 2008.

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