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Residence Program Could Help Increase Number of LC Volunteer Firefighters

By Alyssa Schnugg
News Editor
alyssa.schnugg@hottytoddy.com

As the Lafayette County Fire Department continues to work on keeping up with the growing need for services with the county’s population increasing, the mostly-volunteer department is hoping to start a new program to battle the need for more volunteers.

While presenting his budget for the 2019-2020 fiscal year, Lafayette County Fire Coordinator Wes Anderson presented a plan to the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors Monday that would allow a handful of volunteer firefighters to live at the Central Station.

The department has several volunteers who are college students. However, once they graduate, they may move back to their hometowns or states. Many have a hard time finding affordable housing in Oxford.

Anderson said he’d like to build six efficiency-style apartments on the west side of the Central Station. Selected volunteers would live there rent-free in exchange for being on call to respond to fires – two per shift.

“I also don’t want to limit it to just college students,” he said. “If there’s an 18-year-old out there, like I was, who wants to be a firefighter, I don’t want to limit it.”

The estimated cost to build the six bedrooms and three offices is about $430,000, Anderson said.

“The only cost to the department would be increased utilities and uniforms,” he said.

The firefighters would lease the rooms on a yearly basis and receive no other compensation other than being allowed to live at the station.

Anderson said the county’s fire rating may be lowered since they would have more firefighters on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Anderson presented the idea to the board last year, but after getting some negative feedback from a few firefighters he decided to spend the last year providing more information about the program to firefighters and supervisors and trying again this year.

Anderson said if approved, he and other LCFD board members would interview firefighters interested in the program who have already served as volunteers and are known to the department.

The supervisors took the suggestion under advisement and will consider the request as budget discussions continue over the next several weeks.

The overall budget for the fire department is $1.6 million.

The Board of Supervisors must approve the county’s overall budget by Sept. 15. The budget meetings with department heads allow the supervisors to review the proposed budgets; however, the supervisors won’t have final revenue figures until about August.

Budget meetings will continue at 8 a.m. Thursday at the Lafayette County Chancery Building.


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