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Union City FD Plans to Stop Fighting Co Fires

By Meghan Pinkley
By mpinkley@wbbjtv.com

The flame between the county and city in in Northwest Tennessee on fire fees does not look like it will get put out anytime soon.

Union City's city council said after July 1, firefighters will no longer respond to any fires outside the city limits, and until then, non-subscribers will be charged double.

The chance of continuing the fire subscription fee program for the county, and possibly coming closer to a solution was ended by the county clerk announcing she would no longer collect the $75 fee in her office.

"I just wish they'd hurry up and get it over with. This has been going on for a year now and all the other fire departments have their own policies down, we need to get ours down," said Mark Morgan.

But with the clerk's recent announcement to stop collecting fire subscription fees there is no one by law that is allowed to keep that service going, and Obion County Mayor Benny McGuire said the clerk was within her legal rights to step down from the responsibility.

"I just hope the issue is settled. There's a couple alternatives we can deal with Monday. One of them is to raise taxes by 10 percent and call it a fire tax or the city can collect the subscription fees themselves," said Mayor McGuire.

Union City's fire department has been the only city in Obion County that said they will not go outside the city limits to put out a fire, if there is no action taken by the county to collect fees.

Residents who live in the county and have paid their $75 fire subscription fee will be covered by the Union City Fire Department until July 1. For someone who has not paid their fire subscription fee and the Union City Fire Department responds, they will be charged double the $500 fine to $1,000. After July 1, Union City will no longer respond to any fire calls outside the city limits.

"I would like to see them establish some kind of county service that everyone could be covered," said Sandra Harris.

Mayor McGuire said the county will meet on Monday to discuss alternatives to leaving the county without any fire protection from Union City.