Controversy of Fire Coverage for Proposed Annexation - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

12/01/04

Controversy of Fire Coverage for Proposed Annexation

Next week, the City of Savannah will try to approve a plan to annex thousands of acres of land. The land is located in southwest Chatham County, in the Old Little Neck Road area. It's been a sore subject for years between the city and other municipalities, and now the fire departments are getting involved.

The Southside Fire Department has all the infrastructure in place and plans on building more to cover this area, but if the land is annexed, the Savannah Fire Department will take over.

Right now, Southside serves the land in question with four fire stations and the land to build a fifth. But if the City of Savannah annexes more than 6,000 acres that Southside currently serves, the city will build its own fire station and take over some of the territory.

Southside says this will end up costing them, since the money to serve this area has already been spent. "It does affect us in the long term, because we've expended the money, we've had the expense and we feel like that the growth out there should be used to recoup what we've invested," Chief Wesley Meadows said.

"The City of Savannah philosophy says that everyone deserves the same level of service no matter if it's fire, sanitation, sewer or whatever that might be," Asst. Chief Steve Miller with Savannah FD said.

The City of Savannah says taxpayers would be paying for this just like any other development, but not in the form of a tax increase, and that with all the development it would end up paying for itself.

The city is going to talk with the Southside Fire Department and city council will make a final vote on the annexation next Thursday.

Reported by: Kim Angelastro, kangelastro@wtoc.com

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