Laurens County Fire Service Coordinator Greg Lindley presented an overview of fire station needs at last night’s Laurens County Council Meeting. He and other staff conducted a major review of existing structures, as well as locations for possible new fire stations to help fill the gaps for property more than five miles from a fire station. The ‘Laurens County Fire Service Bond Proposal’ cited the need to raise funds for construction of four additional fire stations while rebuilding the Ekom Station that burned last year. The proposal totals expenditures of $3,650,000. This includes $1,460,000 for the four new stations, $1 million for repairs to existing stations and $1,190,000 for new apparatus needed.
While the concept was reportedly referred to committee, Council did vote to reimburse funds already being spent on fire stations from the proceeds of the bonds. Councilman Joe Wood cast a ‘no’ vote to the resolution, saying “This is not a fire safety issue, it is an insurance issue.” Wood added “No one now in the county is denied fire service, these people chose where they wanted to live,” referring to people whose homes are too far from existing fire stations for insurance benefits. Wood also said that the funds from this bond used for repairs could not be used unless the county owned all the stations needing repair, an issue form a previous meeting involving the Durban Creek Fire Station.
Joe Wood questioned Greg Lindley if all the rural fire departments were in agreement to turn over their buildings. Lindley responded that in a meeting a majority of departments indicated they were willing. He didn’t mention which objected. Wood questioned his fellow council members on how they could vote on a bond issue before all the stations were turned over. Chairman Jim Coleman said the vote had to come first.
As presented last night, the proposal is for issuing $3.7 million in bonds.