Town board OKs volunteer fire department agreement
by Staff Writer
HUNTERSVILLE – There’s no set timetable on when Huntersville will move from a volunteer fire department to a full-time department. But if the town continues to grow, it will happen.
Commissioners at the Oct. 15 town board meeting authorized Town Manager Greg Ferguson to execute a new agreement for fire protection with the Huntersville Fire Department.
The five-year pact continues the partnership between the town and department, which is an independent nonprofit.
Huntersville spends $2.1 million annually on services from the North Mecklenburg Rescue Squad and the fire department, which has stations on Beatties Ford Road, South Old Statesville Road and Eastfield Road.
The department covers 40 miles of city space and 24 miles of the town’s extra-territorial jurisdiction, at a price commissioner Charles Jeter said was “very cost-effective.”
“If we didn’t keep adding people and houses, we’d stick with the model we have,” he said. “But we’re growing and we know that at some point, when we get to 70,000-75,000 people, we’re going to need a full-time fire department.”
The agreement added another five-year term for the volunteer fire department, but provided that Huntersville can void the agreement with a one-year prior notice.
The town’s ability to manage and pay for a full-time fire department is still unknown. The two entities work together, but firefighters are not paid town employees.
Ferguson said if the town elects to go to a full-time paid fire department, residents would have to foot the bill.
Ferguson said roughly 80 people comprise the fire department. A full-time department would have about the same number of employees.
In other business
The town approved Blythe Construction for the 2012 Fall Resurfacing Project, which includes 2.13 miles of Huntersville. Dellwood Drive and Kelly Park Circle are among 15 streets that will have some resurfacing done.
The town also appointed Todd Steiss to the Citizens Transit Advisory Group, a committee that reviews long-range transit system planning in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area.