Fire issue just burns up taxpayers

Published 12:01 am Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thankfully, the City of Natchez begrudgingly agreed to sign the interlocal fire protection agreement with Adams County.

The agreement stipulates that city fire crews will respond to fires in the county in exchange for an annual fee.

The agreement has been a periodic source of disagreement between city and county leaders. Nearly since its inception, the city has felt the county should pay a larger fee and the county, obviously, disagrees.

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At various times in the history of the agreement, the city has threatened to pull services — thus allowing the thought to linger that, perhaps, the Natchez fire crews would simply not respond to county fire calls.

If the agreement were to dissolve and nothing done to improve fire protection in the county through other means, the result would be increased insurance rates in the county.

Consequently, county leaders — who never like to be put over a barrel — have mulled the idea of simply funding some of the existing volunteer fire departments to be fully staffed, thus negating the need for cooperation with the city.

A similar dispute was going on this year with the city seeking an additional $50,000 from the county and the county not budging.

All of the fussing frustrates many taxpayers. Neither city nor county government would exist if it were not for taxpayer support.

Seeing them fight with one another is enough to enflame even the most cool-headed among us.