The Board of Commissioners elected to reinstate the Mt. Juliet Fire Department at their meeting Monday.
“It’s a win-win for everybody,” said Vice Mayor James Maness, who sponsored the ordinance.
The ordinance repeals the city code that WEMA will handle all fires and emergency services in Mt. Juliet and replaces it with a framework of what the Mt. Juliet Fire Department could be. It will have a Fire Chief appointed by the City Manager, and consist of career firefighters and volunteer firefighters. The fire department will be no additional tax burden to the citizens and should have little or no effect on the general fund. The property tax passed last year to pay for the station will stay in place, and will pay for the fire department.
“This way, we control our own destiny,” said Maness.
If an agreement is reached with the county, WEMA would stay in Station 3 and operate as normal. They will also have an ambulance in the new station in Providence per the agreement last year. Maness was very optimistic that an agreement can be made with the county, especially since the City of Mt. Juliet Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to establish it.
“Both sides should be excited about it,” said Maness.
Maness said the ordinance gives a plan for the growth over several years, including another station on the north side around Lebanon Road. But he says it allows the City to take its time.
“We won’t do everything overnight,” said Maness.
The Mt. Juliet Fire Department was disbanded in 1986 when the agreement was reached with WEMA to provide fire protection for the entire city. That agreement was renewed for another five years in 2006, and the City has been operating on a continuation of that agreement since 2011.
Nothing is final until second reading on Sept. 24.