GUYTON -- It took the Guyton City Council less than three minutes to extinguish some serious flames of discontent..
In its third special called meeting in seven days, the council unanimously approved a tentative agreement to enter into an contract with the Effingham County Board of Commissioners for fire protection. Mayor Jeff Lariscy and county officials started working on preliminary agreement a couple of weeks ago. It is patterned on the one Effingham County Fire & Rescue has with the City of Springfield, which sold its firefighting equipment to the county. The proposal for Guyton is a lease arrangement.
Fearing the possibility of higher insurance costs or the loss of coverage, citizens who attended called meetings on July 16 and Thursday were displeased that the council didn't immediately reach an accord with the county. Lariscy told them Thursday that the council understood the urgency of the situation and that negotiations would continue with the county and other municipalities.
Lariscy said Monday that language regarding arbitration between the city and county still need to be worked out before the deal becomes official.
Currently, the Guyton Fire Department has one paid firefighter who works 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and two volunteers. Effingham County has proposed manning the department with two firefighters around the clock without increasing the cost of fire protection for Guyton residents. Guyton's fire fee is $100 annually per residence.
See the July 24 edition of the Effingham Herald for more details.