The commission passed without discussion two measures – one that would allocate $5,000 to the group and one that would form a committee to write legislation to call a referendum on an additional property tax to support local emergency services.
Representatives from the county’s search and rescue service requested emergency funding at the commission’s work session a week ago. Its insurance payment was due Aug. 14 and the team’s vehicles needed some upgrades, but the team didn’t have the money, the representatives said.
The group’s chief, Kyle Yancy, said Monday that the money would allow the team to pay its insurance for the upcoming year, a $2,800 expense, repair a vehicle that had broken down last week and pay for upkeep on the team’s other vehicles.
Fundraising, the group’s only means of support, isn’t keeping up in these tough economic times, Yancy said.
Clint Cochran, captain of the 20-volunteer team, said it’s the only emergency service in the county that doesn’t receive any tax dollars. The volunteer fire departments receive money from a 2-mill property tax and the Cleburne County Hospital Board disburses a 4-mill property tax to the Cleburne County Nursing Home and Emergency Medical Service.
Some public funding could allow the service to grow and to improve, Cochran said.
Yancy agreed. He said the money would allow the members to get extra training that is currently out of reach.
“We just don’t have the money to send people now,” Yancy said.
The resolution passed by the commission members would create an eight-member committee including one representative from fire departments in each district recommended by the commission members. Sheriff Joe Jacks would recommend three representatives, one each from the Sheriff’s Office, the Police Department and Search and Rescue. Hospital Board Chairman William Cleino would recommend one representative of Cleburne County EMS. County Administrator Steve Swafford would chair the committee.
The committee is expected to draft sample legislation for the commission to present to local legislators for possible introduction in the upcoming legislative session.
In other business, the commission:
- Approved $26,588 for the county’s public transportation program. The money will allow the program to continue operating next fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.
- Approved a transfer of $20,000 from the county’s general fund to the county engineer’s budget for gravel.
- Approved a resolution stating that it had hired attorney April McKay to investigate a complaint of harassment and discrimination and authorizing her to advise commissioners on further action. Cleburne County Probate Judge Ryan Robertson said the attorney found no wrongdoing in her investigation.
Staff writer Laura Camper 256-463-2872. On Twitter @LCamper_Star.