Commission discusses reliability of volunteer fire departments

Published 2:49 pm Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Edward Barun came before the Chilton County Commission during its meeting on Monday to discuss the current situation of the Providence Fire Department.

Barun opened by thanking Providence Fire Department for saving his life from a heart attack several years ago.

However, the response time has become less reliable recently and brought up examples of the Jemison Fire Department having to be sent, because Providence was unable to respond.

According to Barun, he lives one mile from the Providence Fire Station, but received no response when called after experiencing trouble breathing.

Providence is a volunteer fire department and Barun acknowledged that he understands the difficulties involved having served as a volunteer fireman in the past.

“Unfortunately, our hands are tied,” Commission chairman Allen Caton said.

Caton explained that the way the law was drawn up leaves the Commission with minimal control over volunteer fire departments.

Barun pleaded with the Commission to implement a tax to solely fund volunteer fire departments.

Commissioner Joseph Parnell stated that there are certain volunteer fire departments in the county that are struggling to find help and are desperate for new recruits.

The Commission will look into the matter.

Next year will be Chilton County’s 150 anniversary and Derric Scott with the county historical society brought it to the attention of the Commission.

“It seems early, but to plan all this stuff is going to take some time,” Scott said.

According to Scott, he is following the model used during the county’s centennial celebration.

“It’s our place to take the lead on this,” Caton said.

Caton invited Scott to come to a work session to discuss it further.

In other news from the meeting, the Commission:

  • Approved the sheriff’s department to surplus a 2011 Dodge Charger and a 2009 Dodge Charger.
  • Approved county attorney to contact and discuss the contract of election systems and software for handicapped machines.
  • Granted Chilton County Transit permission to advertise to hire an additional part time driver.
  • Approved Parks and Recreation Director Gerald Arrington’s request for a pair of line item transfers from Minooka Park to Higgins Ferry.
  • Closed the nominations for the Chilton Water Authority and re-appointed Harry Benson to its Board of Directors.
  • The job description for county lawyer and scheduling a meeting for the Courthouse Security Committee will be discussed at the next work session on March 20.