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County to discuss interim fire budget at Thursday meeting

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Posted: January 2, 2008 6:38 p.m.
Updated: January 17, 2008 5:00 a.m.
    County leaders plan to discuss the interim fire budget during tonight’s Bulloch County Commission Meeting held at the Bulloch County Annex at 5:30 p.m.
    Bulloch County Manager Tom Couch is slated to open  the discussion during the “new business” segment of the meeting. Commissioners are also slated to discuss and possibly take action regarding appointment of a vice chairman for  the council.
    Commissioners voted in November to discontinue a 1985 agreement with the City of Statesboro regarding fire service to citizens living within a five-mile radius of the city limits.
    While Statesboro officials protest the decision and have said they will appeal, citing House Bill 489 and a renegotiation of the 1999 agreement renewal, county leaders are planning move ahead with plans to implement a county-wide fire department by summer.
    The 1985 agreement had county officials paying 25 percent of the city’s fire budget. A recent proposal by city officials that the county increase the amount to 43 percent was met with opposition by county leaders.
    Couch said in earlier interviews that the city officials refused to negotiate the terms, so commissioners voted to end the intergovernmental agreement and form a county fire department that would work with existing volunteer departments, improving them and improving county-wide services as well.
    Commissioners will also hear presentations from Alan Mazza with Heart of Georgia Regional Development Center and from Bulloch County Commission Chairman Garrett Nevil regarding a proclamation for former county clerk Evelyn Wilson.
    Zoning hearings will follow the regular meeting.

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