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Originally published: 2013-08-14 14:45:43
Last modified: 2013-08-14 14:51:34

Board agrees to fire departments’ six-month contracts

Caroline Harris / (

Avery County Board of Commissioners, the Avery County Fire Commission and Avery County fire department chiefs met on Aug. 6 to discuss the fire departments’ contracts with the county, among other issues.

The purpose of the meeting was to resolve conflicts over the annual contract between the county and individual fire departments. Due to disagreements over funding and contracts among the three parties, eight of 11 Avery County fire departments signed a six-month contract rather than a one-year contract, with a one-year contract being required by the board of commissioners. As a result, these eight fire departments did not receive funding from the county as scheduled and were not on track for continued recognition as legal firefighting agencies. At stake if legal status had been lost was an increase in fire tax for the county and the ability of property owners to purchase fire insurance.

At the end of the two-hour meeting, it was decided among all parties that the county, averting the crisis, would accept the already in place, six-month contracts signed by the fire departments. To stay funded on a six-month contract, operational funds budgeted for the fire departments by the county will be awarded on a monthly basis.

To read the complete story, please pick up a copy of your hometown newspaper, The Avery Journal-Times, available at almost 100 locations in Newland, Banner Elk, Crossnore, Spruce Pine and Roan Mountain, Tenn. To subscribe to The Avery Journal-Times, please call (828) 733-0401 or click to