Small Fire Departments Stretch For Rural Protection

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The confusion and frustration over Obion County homeowners having to pay a yearly subscription fee for fire service was nothing new. Since the county did not have its own fire department, and cities said they could not afford to respond to every call, the fee was supposed to solve the problem. But a new kink in the system had all the city fire departments in Obion County back at square one. Phillip Green, a Troy volunteer firefighter, said even with the new fire subscription fees, the Troy fire department was still responding to all calls, even ones outside city limits. “Well, the problem is they built the database, the county was responsible for building the database, the county has not got it up and running yet”, said Green. In other words, the computer system that was supposed to tell firefighters who had paid for fire service was not working. So, Green said that their policy was going to every fire, regardless of whether they had paid their subscription or not, because they didn’t have the ability to see whether an individual had. Authorities said it was not good that they were taking subscriptions with the database down. “So 70 or 75 percent of people who paid subscriptions it doesn’t really matter because we’re going out to everybody’s fire”, said Green. But Troy’s Mayor Jimmie Hart said if you live outside the city limits and did not pay your fire fee, once the system is working, his firefighters will not respond. Some volunteer firefighters said they do not agree with the subscription fee. They believe the county should have a county fire tax that would help cover their costs.

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