|County tells Fire & Rescue 'yes'
Loudon County Commission contributed funding Monday for Loudon County Fire & Rescue to purchase land at the corner of Sugarlimb and Hotchkiss Valley roads for future relocation.
Commissioners Van Shaver and Henry Cullen motioned and seconded, respectively, with the vote passing 9-0. Commissioner Matthew Tinker was absent.
The county’s portion is $43,750 out of the general fund balance. Loudon County’s portion makes up half of the total, with the full amount at $87,500 for 1.64 acres. Loudon County Fire & Rescue will pay the additional cost.
Plans are to eventually relocate the Sugarlimb Road station when future expansion of Loudon County Jail is needed.
“They’ve had their eye on this for probably better than a year, maybe even two,” County Mayor Buddy Bradshaw said. “They’ve kind of been working back and forth. The price has been kind of out of the range, and I guess the owner has worked with them to come down on it, and so they’ve had their eye on it for a while.”
Michael Hodge, assistant chief with Fire & Rescue, said Tuesday morning that the next step will be waiting for a percolation test to pass before acquiring the land. He was unsure when the test would be complete.
“We could make it tomorrow if the perc test and all that was done,” Hodge said. “... We’ve already been in contact with the real estate company. They’re aware of the process that we’re having to follow. Once we get the property purchased then at that point we’re kind of at a waiting point because we’re waiting on county commission when it is time for them to build us a new station because of the new jail that’s being built. That’s the whole reason we’re having to move is because the new jail needs that property, but I don’t think it’s until the next phase of the project.”
Plans have already been drawn up for the property, which will serve as the Fire & Rescue’s primary station, Hodge said.
“We went out and measured the property, way before we went forward with trying to purchase, to make sure a building that we needed would fit on the property, which it will,” Hodge said. “It’s going to have to have multiple apparatus, it’ll have to have living quarters, large training room, things like that.”
Fire & Rescue has five stations in the county.
When the time comes, county officials believe relocation should improve overall response time.
“I think that’s important for the whole county if we can acquire that piece of property and locate the rescue squad there,” Steve Harrelson, commission chairman, said. “Access to the entire county would be improved, which the response times would be greatly improved, and hopefully we’ll get fire service to all the residences of Loudon County a lot quicker.”
In other action, commissioners:
• Approved term updates for Cullen on the Loudon County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and Commissioner Harold Duff on the Loudon County Visitors Bureau Board. Commissioners tabled renewing the Loudon County Corrections Partnership.
• Accepted resignation of Ric Best on Loudon County Board of Education due to illness and replaced him with his wife, Melissa Best, who will serve the remainder of his term.
• Passed a $21,600 increase in the grant contract for health department employees. No matching funds were required.
• Amended the County General Fund 101, Courthouse Jail/Maintenance Fund 112, Public Libraries Fund 115, County Drug Fund 122, Highway Department Fund 131, General Purpose School Fund 141, General Debt Service Fund 151 and General Capital Projects Fund 171.
• Moved the Dec. 18 workshop to 5 p.m. Jan. 2 before the commission meeting.