CLEVELAND, Tenn. — The Bradley County Commission has rejected a merger of the county and city of Cleveland fire departments.
Commissioner Mel Griffith, who made the motion that was approved on an 8-6 vote, said the county will continue developing its own fire department according to plans already made. But, he said, the motion does not rule out the possibility of discussing some kind of fire contract with the city.
The county now has a contract to pay $1.8 million annually to the city for the Cleveland Fire Department’s response to urban areas in the county. The county’s full-time department, plus a force of volunteers, responds to rural areas. But the contract expires in 18 months.
Some commissioners wanted to delay a vote and hold a joint city-county meeting to discuss a report from a study task force.
“We have all gotten the presentation from the task force,” Commissioner Bill Winters said. “But we have not sat down and discussed this.”
But fire service has been controversial for 19 years, Griffith said.
“Should we just defer this to our grandchildren?” he asked.
For complete details, see tomorrow’s Chattanooga Times Free Press.
Randall Higgins covers news in Cleveland, Tenn., for the Times Free Press. He started work with the Chattanooga Times in 1977 and joined the staff of the Chattanooga Times Free Press when the Free Press and Times merged in 1999. Randall has covered Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Alabama. He now covers Cleveland and Bradley County and the neighboring region. Randall is a Cleveland native. He has bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University. His awards ...