Maintaining the longstanding arrangement that yields substantial savings and an improved fire rating, the University of Mississippi has renewed its quadrennial fire protection contract with the city of Oxford.
Effective July 1, the university and the municipality continue the mutually beneficial agreement, which began in the 1980s. The city will continue to lease land from the university for both its existing and new fire stations, while the university will be serviced in the event of fire on campus. The university pays the city $550,000 annually for the protection, along with debt payment assistance on the new station near the University-Oxford Airport.
“We are happy to continue the strong relationship with the city of Oxford for fire protection for our campus,” Chancellor Dan Jones said. “No university community has a stronger mutually beneficial relationship between the university and the city than ours. I am grateful to the mayor and other city leaders for this relationship and for the men and women who put their lives on the line every day to keep the rest of us out of harm’s way.”
On behalf of the board of aldermen, Mayor Pat Patterson said the city of Oxford is pleased to be able to continue to provide fire protection for the university and the students, faculty and staff on campus.
“Chancellor Jones and his team continue to be solid partners and friends with the Oxford-Lafayette community, and we look forward to many more decades of that friendship,” Patterson said.
The Mississippi Insurance Rating Bureau has given the city’s fire department a 4.0 fire rating. The ranking is used to determine local property insurance rates.
Both entities benefit from the decades-old partnership, said Douglass Sullivan-Gonzalez, dean of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College at UM and a Lafayette County volunteer firefighter.
“Once again, the university and the city of Oxford teach the nation how we can work in each other’s interest and create a safer community with a top-notch fire department,” Sullivan-Gonzalez said. “My thanks to Mayor Pat Patterson for his constant optimism and his belief in what we can do together.”
Oxford Fire Chief Cary Sallis agreed.
“The university leases us land for our stations and we share costs for new equipment, which is the biggest benefit to the city,” Sallis said. “It’s definitely a ‘win-win’ situation.”
–Edwin Smith, Ole Miss Communications