Citizens, supervisors and county staff weighed in on the county’s plan to manage King William Volunteer Fire and Rescue and reorganize the Fire and EMS system.
The plan was discussed throughout the board’s Monday night meeting, starting off with the public comment period.
Fifth District resident Megan Yopp, wife of a county fire and EMS volunteer and an auxiliary volunteer herself, said this plan will make the volunteer system suffer.
“I’m concerned that purchasing Station One with tax dollars will further support the toxic environment of the fire and EMS … growing in our county,” Yopp said. “There has been no open dialogue with volunteers and members are being cherry picked from volunteer stations to support county stations.”
Mattaponi Volunteer Rescue Squad Chief Curtis Mason Jr. discussed the reduced funding to the volunteer rescue squad that would happen under the agreement.
“I’ve been told in a roundabout way that you guys are doing away with funding for Mattaponi Volunteer Rescue Squad, according to Chief Aigner and Mrs. Tassinari,” Mason said.
Mason said he made an offer on behalf of Mattaponi Volunteer Rescue Squad to fund and help run King William Volunteer Fire and Rescue for $550,000. They money also would help pay its debt.
“I had the check in my hand and was ready to help and got shot down,” Mason said. “Taxpayers wouldn’t have to pay a dime, but they want to go with the county.”
County administrator Bobbie Tassinari confirmed Mason’s statement about the volunteer organization’s offer later in the meeting.
Board, staff discussion
Tassinari presented two resolutions that signal the board’s intent to move forward with the draft of the agreement with King William Volunteer Fire and Rescue.
The two resolutions are conveyance deeds for debt on Station One’s building and assets, according to Tassinari.
“This does not mean it’s a done deal. There’s an agreement still being drafted and looked at by both sides,” Tassinari said. “This would allow me to move through the process to accept the deed and work through conveyance process.”
The building has a debt balance of $282,646.12 and would come out of the county’s unassigned general fund balance of $7.3 million. Station One’s loans — a tanker and engine with a loan balance of $264,185.03 — would be renegotiated and refinanced, according to Tassinari.
County attorney Daniel Stuck said the resolutions are not binding or final.
“This is Mrs. Tassinari’s way to let the organization know which way the county wants to go. Tat way we can continue with drafting the agreement,” Stuck said. “You will have the opportunity to look at the agreement and make a final decision.”
Both resolutions were approved: the building resolution 4-1 with Hansen voting against, and the assets resolution 3-2 with Hansen and Ehrhart not wanting to take on the expenditure.
The board also held a public hearing on a budget amendment resolution for fiscal year 2019, which would allow finance director Natasha Langston to start the process of redirecting funds from the unassigned general fund to pay off the loan for Station One for up to $290,000, according to Langston.
No one spoke at the public hearing. The resolution was approved 4-1 with Hansen voting no.
Chairman Bill Hodges said he is on board with reorganization plans if the county starts to see 24/7 fire and EMS coverage in three months.
King William County Fire and EMS Chief Andy Aigner said the department had 24/7 coverage on Monday and hopes to continue that through the possible reorganization of the system.
Luck can be reached at 757-291-2038, email@example.com or @ashleyrluck on Twitter