Thursday, March 22, 2012
Cayce community goes for new fire truck
By SUE WATSON
Cayce Fire Department left no room for error as it sought the board of supervisors’ approval to accept a fire grant that will add a new pumper to the fleet.
The grant is made possible through the Federal Emergency Management Agency and grants are not easy to come by for fire trucks these days, said Hugh Hollowell, emergency management coordinator for the county.
“It will be free to the fire department and to the county,” Hollowell said.
The state will pay the 5 percent match for the grant, the county will own the truck and it will be housed at Cayce.
Hollowell said FEMA has provided lots of personal protective gear and training, but nothing like this truck, recently.
“We are really surprised we got it this time because the money has dried up,” Hollowell said.
Supervisor Charles Terry praised Cayce and asked what it is doing that other rural fire departments could be doing to get this kind of equipment.
Harry Willis, assistant fire chief of Cayce, said there is a lot of paperwork involved and since he is self-employed, he has time to work on the grant applications.
“We have gotten lucky the last five years or so and have gotten five or six grants,” he said.
Hollowell said rural fire departments have gotten lots of grants over the last 10-12 years.
“We don’t come to you unless we need your help,” he said. “Victoria, Watson, Waterford, lots of departments have received fire grants, in all fairness. They were just smaller grants of from $5,000 to $20,000.
Supervisor Keith Taylor praised all rural fire departments in the county and those in his district, as well.
“I know how much work they put in from the fire brush truck to everything else,” Taylor said. “Cayce has beat the bushes – having fish fries (to raise money). I appreciate all they do. It’s how much time and effort you put into it. We have to make sure recognition is given to all the fire departments and people like in Potts Camp are just as important.”
Supervisor Eddie Dixon agreed.
“I painted the first old tanker Mr. Armour started with – the old 1957 tanker. It is wonderful seeing them making it this far,” Dixon said.
Supervisor Ronnie Joe Bennett agreed.
“It is (run) by volunteers and it takes dedication to do it,” he said. “They’ve got families.”
Supervisor George Zinn III said Cayce must be good at grant writing.
Hollowell added, “In this time of fuel costs through the roof and difficult finances, we are also having trouble getting volunteers. It has gotten to be a challenge because they cannot afford gas or may have lost one of their jobs.”
“They are trying to survive, themselves,” said Bennett.
“We’re facing difficult challenges now more than a few years ago,” Hollowell said, “just trying to survive.”
With discussion ended, a motion was passed to authorize a resolution to designate the fire truck to Cayce Fire Department as the recipient of the truck.
In sheriff’s department matters, Cathy Brittenum advised the board that her department has a Justice Assistance Grant to pay for about half the cost of a new patrol car. The city is also a recipient of moneys to apply for a patrol car. Supervisors asked that Brittenum make sure the city will commit to spending the funds as designated before supervisors look for money for the sheriff’s vehicle.
Taylor suggested the county use its portion and make monthly payments on the amount to be borrowed until the new fiscal year rolls around when the remainder owed can be put in the budget.
Sheriff Kenny Dickerson said his budget had no monies to pay the balance of about $12,000 to purchase the car; he’s having enough trouble paying for gasoline.
The board tabled the matter until more information is available from the city.
Stacy Norman, director of E-911, asked that the name of Valley Cove be corrected to Tunstall Valley Cove, to match the current address system. The road has been listed as Valley Cove since 1998 but Tunstall was dropped from the name.
“It was a mistake made by 911 years ago,” she said.
Supervisors approved the road name correction which will not require any residents to do anything about their mailing addresses.
Zoning and tax matters
Zoning director Conway Moore brought supervisors up to speed on two cleanup needs, one on a property and the other a problem with illegal dumping. Afterwards, Bill Mobley, executive director of the industrial development authority, asked for approval of a permit for a property to add a rail spur from the intermodal yard in Rossville to the Chickasaw Trail Industrial Park area. The board approved the permit to rezone the property from Residential Estates to Industrial I.
Mobley said the land would be assessed as I-1 when the property is used for industrial purposes.
That brought up discussion from Taylor and Moore. Taylor said properties should be assessed when a zoning use is changed. Moore said taxes do not change until a property that has been upwardly zoned is put to use.
After further study, tax assessor Juanita Dillard said Moore and Mobley were correct.
She reported that the county raises about a half million dollars from inventory tax.
Supervisors have been concerned about possible new state legislation that could jeopardize that tax base.
Quotes for the purchase of five pickup crew trucks and a van were opened and Hancock Bank was chosen as having the best interest rate offer. The board accepted Hancock Bank as the lender.
The board approved $129,791 in claims for the month.
County administrator Larry Hall reported his office is dealing with the hard to collect and large garbage fee delinquency issues. Some problems arise when a resident registers their vehicle to a relative’s address to avoid paying up on garbage fees. The county can refuse to sell a customer a tag renewal if they have failed to pay their garbage fees. Some customers are finding ways to not suffer consequences for failure to pay, Hall said.
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