By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • Hoke County local government will hold a public hearing Monday, March 21 to give citizens a chance to voice their thoughts on a proposed plan to have Tylertown Fire Department take over independently running the station.
Commissioners agreed Monday to hold a hearing, and send out letters to all residents living in the fire district to inform them about the meeting.
Tylertown residents have for years asked to get the station back to operate it independently, after it faced financial problems and merged with the North Raeford Fire Department.
Currently North Raeford Fire Department receives the fire tax income from the district and is responsible for handling the funds. If the county board votes to turn things over to Tylertown, the fire tax money will go to the Tylertown station directly.
A fire official gave the Tylertown station a preliminary thumbs-up as far as things like the equipment and personnel are concerned, Hoke County Attorney Grady Hunt said.
“Lee Kennedy made my job a lot easier this morning. Lee emailed me actually this morning and informed me that he had actually done a pre-inspection for Tylertown. As far as he was concerned, as far as the pre-inspection, they met all the 9S requirements,” Hunt said. “In fact, he said that his department had actually donated some items to them themselves. So, in the preliminary matter, he says that they’re fine as far as the 9S. As far as the trucks, the personnel, the equipment, all of that is in place, he says he’s got no concerns about that.”
“9S” is a fire station fire protection rating in North Carolina.
If the department resumes its independent operation, residents in the five-mile-radius district around the station could potentially see a difference in their insurance bills. Insurance rates are affected by the rating of the fire station in each district. The better the rating, the lower the insurance rate.
For the first three years, the Tylertown district would have a different rating than the one residents currently have under the North Raeford Fire Department, Hunt said. That could mean what they pay for insurance may change.
The commissioners wanted to know more: how much would homeowners have to pay under the new rating? And, where exactly will the district boundaries be located?
The board members asked to see that information, and to have it presented so Tylertown residents can also see it, at the meeting scheduled for March 21.
The hearing will take place at the regularly scheduled commissioners’ meeting, held at the Pratt Building on Main Street in Raeford. The meeting will start at 7 p.m. Commissioners asked to make the agenda light so as to turn most of the attention onto the Tylertown Fire Department matter.