Commissioners discuss merging of two volunteer fire departments

Board’s only responsibility is to define geographical boundaries


White County Board of Commissioners met Oct. 16 and passed several resolutions. However, one that sought to combine two of the county’s volunteer fire districts into one met with some discussion and opposition.

Resolution No. 83-10-2023 Joining Central View (District 3) and Mt. Gilead (District 10) into One Volunteer Fire District was brought to the commission by Steering Committee B. The committee chairman Dakota White explained to the commission that the chiefs of the two departments came to Steering Committee B with the request saying that it would provide better coverage for the residents of the communities the departments serve. According to Fire Chief Thomas Steele, who was in attendance at the county commission meeting, both departments respond to all calls as it is due to staffing issues. He also said that combining the districts would help reduce costs for the community and would eliminate the redundancy in leadership at each call.

When the resolution was presented, a request for an amendment to send the resolution back to Steering Committee B for more research was made. However, the amendment to the resolution did not garner enough votes to pass with only Thomas Margeson, Chris Brewington, and Larry Daniels voting in favor (Jordan Cocke was absent and had no vote).

County executive Denny Wayne Robinson explained to the board of commissioners, reading from the Tennessee Code Annotated, that the commission’s only responsibility is to define the geographical boundaries of the volunteer fire districts. How the departments choose to fund, staff, or operate those departments within those boundaries is not up to the commission.

After the amendment failed and Robinson explained that the resolution presented to the board was only for the setting of a new geographical boundary – one that both departments felt would allow them to provide better services for the community – the resolution passed as originally presented. Only Chris Brewington voted against the resolution.

All of the other items on the agenda that the county commissioners voted on during their October meeting were passed unanimously by all of the commissioners present.

Those resolutions included three brought by Steering Committee A, whose chairman, Derrick Hutchings, said all had been brought with the proper petitions and/or approval from the county road superintendent, Jerry Sawyer, and included:

  • Resolution 80-10-2023 Establish Speed Limit on Blue Springs Road – which set a 45 mile per hour speed limit on the section of Blue Springs Road that begins at Highway 84 and ends at Frank Sims Road.
  • Resolution 81-10-2023 Establish a Speed Limit on Duck Pond Road – which set a 35 mile per hour speed limit on the section of Duck Pond Road that begins at Roberts Matthews Highway and ends at Old Kentucky Road
  • Resolution 82-10-2023 Placing Stop Signs on Preston Heights Cemetery and a Road to be Named

The budget committee sent two resolutions to the commission and county executive Denny Wayne Robinson, who serves as chairman of that committee, presented them to the full court which passed them both without comment.

  • Resolution 84-10-2023 General Purpose Fund
  • Resolution 85-10-2023 Solid Waste Fund

The next regular meeting of the White County Board of Commissioners will be 6 p.m., Nov. 20.    


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