Eastland County: Increase Funds To All Fire Departments

At today’s Eastland County Commissioners’ meeting, the commissioners voted unanimously to increase the funding the county provides municipal fire departments for their services in unincorporated areas of the county. The Fire Departments of Ranger, Olden, Gorman, Rising Star, Carbon and Desdemona each received a $7,500 funding increase in the proposed 2011 Eastland County budget. Commissioners voted to provide the same increase to the Cisco and Eastland Fire Departments at a previous meeting.

Representatives of each fire department told why they believed they should receive the same level of funding as Cisco and Eastland. Each department stated that they had rural call expenses similar to those of Cisco and Eastland.

Ranger Fire Chief Darrell Fox told commissioners the vote to give Eastland and Cisco more funding gave the other fire departments the impression that they are considered second best. Chief Fox insisted that the only fair thing to do was to keep the amount budgeted for fire support the same for amount for each department.

Commissioners anticipate funding the increase with a proposed property tax rate increase of 1/10 cent which, if approved, will make the total tax rate .59 per $100.00 evaluation, a .04 increase over the previous year.

Commissioner Honea, restating his opposition to raising taxes, was concerned about maintaining these funding levels next year without another rate increase.

After nearly two hours of discussion, Norman Christian made a motion to give the other six fire departments $7,500 each, the funding to come in part as $5,000 from Precinct #2, $5,000 from Precinct #3 and the rest to come from the contingency fund. The motion passed unanimously.

The County Commissioners and Fire Department Chiefs attending agreed that next year the eight Eastland County fire department chiefs should get together to decide the allocation of funds that the county budgets for fire support.

In other business, the commissioners voted to approve the only bid received for cleaning the exterior brick on the county annex building. Betteas Design submitted the winning bid of $4,420.

Batteas Design was the lone bidder for the project to remove and replace one storefront door and transom windows on the annex and install new doors to match the historic look around the square. The winning bid was $3,876.90.

The commissioners amended the previous court’s action eliminating the north and south division of CR 177. A new section of county road was named CR 171. This section of county road starts at GPS 98.921676 x 32.360363 and dead ends at GPS 98.922041 x 32.353112