Hornbeak board votes to suspend fire service
Posted: Friday, February 6, 2009 9:13 pm
In a decision based on financial reasons, Hornbeak has decided it will suspend rural firefighting operations later this year if Obion County fails to move toward a funding plan for rural fire protection.
The mayor and board of aldermen voted unanimously at their meeting this week to suspend the service effective June 30, 2009.
Troy’s board approved such a measure Monday night.
Hornbeak, as well as other towns in Obion County, has been in negotiations with the Obion County Commission for two years on the countywide fire protection issue. The towns’ leaders are asking for financial support to provide fire protection to residents outside their municipal limits.
The ever-increasing cost of purchasing and maintaining fire equipment for the volunteer units is the main reason for the vote.
“We don’t want to stop providing rural fire service, we just can’t continue to provide the service for free any longer,” Hornbeak Mayor Pete Burpo said. “Residents of Hornbeak are paying all operational expenses for the fire department. Of all fire department responses annually, over 80 percent are in rural areas. Our fire department has over 750 residences in our area of operations outside the city limits.”
Burpo is requesting that the county’s residents contact their county commissioners to help resolve this problem.
Recently the Obion County Commission discussed the rural fire service and sent the matter back to the budget committee.
In other business, the board:
• Discussed the Community Development Block Grant for the sewer line extension.
• Reviewed efforts by the town during the ice storm and the process for limb cleanup. Obion County Mayor Benny McGuire spoke briefly about the ice storm and the role of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency and the county government.
The board also expressed its thanks to the local fire departments’ volunteers for all their hard work clearing the town’s roads and the rural roads of Obion County.
Published in The Messenger 2.6.09