After voting to cancel a fire service contract between the county and the City of Brownfield on Monday, Terry County Commissioners are under the impression that those services will continue until Dec. 31, 1015.
But the City of Brownfield is interpreting the contract cancellation in a much different way.
“The actual term of the contract ends September 30,” City Manager Eldon Jobe said. “If they cancel the contract, they (Terry County) will have fire suppression service until September 30.”
Jobe said Terry County made a payment in June, but he wasn’t sure of the amount. He also said the contract runs from Oct. 1 until September 30.
Jobe also said he has yet to see a letter of cancellation from Terry County.
When asked how the cancelation of the fire service contract would affect Terry County, Jobe said those fire services would be discontinued. That is unless an agreement is reached before the September cutoff date.
“As of September 30 it will be cut off unless we can negotiate with them and come up with a different program with them,” said Jobe. “That will be up to the city council.”
When asked how a Terry County fire would be handled after September 30, Jobe said he wasn’t sure and that would be up to the Brownfield City Council and Terry County Commissioners. He did say there was a possibility that Terry County might be able to pay a certain amount per fire run. And another option would be that the Brownfield Fire Department simply would not be dispatched.
Brownfield Fire Chief Dennis Rowe said a cancellation would end a successful cooperation between the Brownfield Fire Department and surrounding volunteer fire departments.
“I’ve talked to the Wellman department and Meadow department and we all came to the same conclusion, that we work well together, and we hate to see this happen over money,” said Rowe. “We are going to have to wait and see what happens before we can make a determination.”
Jobe said he was in a meeting with Terry County Judge J.D. “Butch” Wagner as well as with Brownfield Mayor Tom Hesse a few months ago and Wagner said Terry County Commissioners would reach a decision on what to do about the fire service contract. He said concerns of money were discussed, but obviously not entirely addressed.
“We just have to take a wait and see, and see what the council decides to do,” said Jobe. “The only thing I would add is I would like to assure the citizens of Brownfield that they will continue to get the services they are currently getting.”
And the residents of Terry County?
“I can’t comment on that one,” said Jobe.
Click link below to listen to our For the Record interview with Judge Wagner regarding the cancellation of the fire service contract with the City of Brownfield