Fire departments, rescue to get equal shares of extra funding

Published 2:44 pm Tuesday, November 1, 2022

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By Mike Barnhardt

Enterprise Record

All Davie County fire departments will receive an extra $37,889 in county funding for the year.

The decision by county commissioners last month ended months of debate on how to distribute  a $492,557 budget windfall found earlier this year. That debate included distribution suggestions from fire chiefs, Jason Keaton of William R. Davie and Todd Naylor of Farmington.

“There’s unlimited combinations here, and I don’t know what’s fair and what’s unfair,” said Commissioner Terry Renegar. “I appreciate the fact, going back to what Chief Keaton said, there’s going to have to be more money. This isn’t the fix all, but for now … I make that motion.”

Richard Poindexter made the second.

“It’s fair for everyone to get an equal share,” Poindexter said. “We do know that some of the smaller ones need to be caught up with the bigger ones, and we need to do that. We need to sit down and discuss a quarter-cent sales tax fo fund the fire departments.”

Board Chair James Blakley made the deciding vote to pass the motion, with members Mark Jones and Benita Finney voting against it.

Jones said he favored plans that sent more money to the nine base departments and less to the big three – Mocksville, Smith Grove and Advance.

Finney agreed, going on to say she nor any other board member has anything against the three largest departments, and they, too, will continue to receive their share of county funds.

She thanked Keaton and Naylor for including all base departments in their arguments.

“I want to say, especially to Smith Grove, Mocksville and Advance, just because someone is standing up for someone who has been neglected and ignored, does not mean that we’re against those of you who are more blessed to be in the districts that you are. Your money will always continue to grow, which is why this should be the opportunity to give a larger portion to the base departments, because this is a unique opportunity that we do not always have, that we may never have again.

“Mocksville (fire department allocations) increased naturally by almost $59,000 this year; Smith Grove increased naturally by almost $79, 000; and Advance not only increased naturally by around $25,000, but you also have the opportunity to raise your own tax money (via a fire tax approved by residents in that distgrict) if needed.

“But you all get offended and think someone is against you. That could not be further from the truth. Every citizen and every department in this county deserves our attention and that is what this vote should be about,” Finney said.