CLEVELAND, Tenn. - Whether fire, rescue and emergency medical services in Bradley County are merged into one department now is up to the County Commission and Cleveland City Council.
A task force led by banker Julian Sullivan delivered its report to both local governments today. It includes an organizational chart with proposed roles of volunteer firefighters, costs, ownership of assets and an implementation guideline.
The projected cost to operate a combined department for fiscal year 2012-2013 is $17.4 million, which would include a separate fire tax now paid by county property owners and a larger portion of the city property tax rate, according to the report.
City Councilman Richard Banks said the costs of continuing separate departments also should be compiled before votes are taken.
The county now pays $1.8 million to the city to provide fire service in a five-mile fringe area. The county's full-time and volunteer firefighters cover the remainder of the county.
The fiscal year beginning July 1 is the final full year of the contract.
For complete details, see tomorrow's Chattanooga Times Free Press.