Mt. Juliet Moves Closer To Re-establishing City Fire Dept.
by Chris Cannon
MT. JULIET, Tenn. - Mt. Juliet City Commissioners unanimously voted Monday night to move forward with plans to re-establish a city fire department. It was the first of two votes needed to approve the ordinance.
It was a vote Sidney Payne has waited two years to witness.
"It's been on the agenda for years, and years, and years, and years and everybody was talking about it and nobody was doing anything about it," Payne explained.
So Payne came to each city commission meeting for the last two years with a fire extinguisher to force commissioners to listen to her reasons for wanting a city fire department.
"The goal of this all was to improve response time. Our firefighters and paramedics are absolutely wonderful, it just takes them too long to get there," Payne said.
Monday night the city commission cast a first vote on an ordinance that would start the process of re-establishing a city fire department.
"I think it's an important to lay out we have a budget, we have a plan to move forward," said vice mayor James Maness.
The vice mayor spearheaded the effort to bring the ordinance up for a vote. It would establish the fire department and a working agreement with Wilson County to work with the new department.
Maness said existing revenue sources would pay for the new fire department.
"The money and the revenue and the monies that are collected there goes specifically into a fund that is designated for emergency services," Maness said.
Most everyone who attended Monday's commission meeting spoke in favor of a fire department. Butch Huber is not against it, but he is against paying for fire protection with both county and city taxes.
"We are paying county taxes to provide the service to us. Then, on top of that, I got to pay the city. But to add insult to injury if they approve that I'm going to be paying for service to the unincorporated part of the county, in addition to that," Huber said.
Vice mayor Maness will take his proposal to Wilson County Commissioners Tuesday night. If the county commission approves the plan, it will then go back to city commissions for a second and final vote.
The ordinance will initially fund one fire station, with another station to open 2015.