Commission Votes To Expand Mt. Juliet Fire Department

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Commission Votes To Expand Mt. Juliet Fire Department

CREATED Jun 23, 2014
by Todd Walker

 MT. JULIET, Tenn. - Minutes before approving the city's 2014-2015 budget, the Mt. Juliet City Commission approved an extra quarter-million dollars to add six firefighters to the city's new department.

Some on the commission, including the mayor, felt it hurt transparency with the public to add the item the same night the budget gets set for the year.

The dissenting members were outnumbered 3-2 by those who felt it was appropriate to not delay a decision and add it to the budget.

Chief Erron Kinney was pleased with the outcome.

"From my point of view and from the way I see it, this provides better emergency coverage to all of Wilson County," he said. "Because we're now not having to deplete or pull away so many resources from (Wilson County Emergency Agency) that covers the entire county."

The Fire Chief says as his department stands right now it doesn't have the resources to adequately respond to emergencies.

To meet national firefighting standards, Kinney says he needs to have 10 people respond to a fire in 10 minutes.

Kinney says with the addition of six extra firefighters the department can open a second station and more evenly cover the city.

Right now, Station One can only quickly cover its immediate area.

"I think it puts us in a much better situation," he said. "I think that from a coverage standpoint it's exponentially better having the six additional people."

The amount of money set aside this year for the firefighters was reduced to $255,000 from the original $310,000 because the new firefighters won't be hired by the start of the budget year of July 1.

The chief says he plans to have them ready to go in September.

The firefighters are a separate issue from Mt. Juliet's proposal to privatize its ambulance service.

That issue has been pushed back a few weeks as it holds two town hall meetings on the matter.

Those meetings are set for July 7, 6:30 PM, at Life Assembly Church located at 555 Pleasant Grove Rd and July 8,6:30 PM, at Joy Church located at 10085 Lebanon Road.

While the new firefighters will cost taxpayers more money, the city says privatizing the ambulance service will not cost the city any money.

Email: twalker@newschannel5.com