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Deadline looms as city tells county: We will stop responding to fires, unless…

Posted by on Saturday, May 25th, 2013 @ 8:03 pm.

SALINE CO.—The inability of the city of Harrisburg to collect thousands of dollars in unpaid charges from city residents when municipal fire departments respond to fire calls continues to vex local politicians who are walking a thin line.

The city of Harrisburg, who as of this past July (figures since that time haven’t been available to us) claimed to be faced with more than $20,000 in unpaid fore runs, is threatening to stop responding to fire calls outside city limits.

Saline County board member Danny Gibbs, front

Saline County board member
Danny Gibbs, front (former board chairman Jay Williams is behind him; yes, this is an old photo, but Danny looks NO different, you gotta admit…)

That puts the county in a bit of a pickle.

The county board is now looking into the possibility of creating a county-wide fire district.

“But that would entail raising taxes and the citizens are taxed enough,” said Saline County Board member Carey Harbison at the most recent county board meeting held this past Thursday, May 24.

Board member Danny Gibbs said the city wants to continue to negotiate, while board member Roger Craig said if the county was going to be “dropped like a bad habit” the board needs to be looking now at what action it wants to take and not wait.

State’s attorney Mike Henshaw, who also serves as the county’s legal counsel, asked for clarity.

Saline County state's attorney Mike Henshaw

Saline County state’s
attorney Mike Henshaw

“What is the city asking the county to do,” Henshaw asked. “I am not going to ask the board to do something illegal just because the city wants us to do it. The county can only act within the guidelines of applicable statutes.”

Board member Gary Siebert pointed about what happens when taxpayers figure out the government can’t afford to sue all of them.

“City officials have complained that the collection of fines often involves litigation and the cost to collect can be greater than the amount owed,” he said.

It what sounds like some vague threat, the city has said it is interested in extending its June 1 deadline another 36 months if the county shows progress toward the formation of a county rural fire protection district.

As the deadline looms, it is unclear if city fathers have seen the progress they are looking for to extend the conversation.

Short URL: https://www.disclosurenewsonline.com/?p=22652

Posted by on May 25 2013. Filed under Saline. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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