Board postpones action on de-annexing South Madison County Fire District

By NIKKI ROWELL,

Discussion is heating up after a request was made to the Madison County board of supervisors to de-annex the South Madison County Fire District in the areas that it overlaps with the city of Canton.

The Canton Fire Chief Kenna Pierce requested in September that the board vote to de-annex the South Madison County Fire District along Calhoun Station Parkway from Church Road past the entrance of Panther Creek subdivision.

Businesses and residents of that area are being double taxed as a result of the overlap, Pierce said.

“Canton fire is already doing all the inspections. They’re under our codes. They get approval from us to do anything,” Pierce said. “The main thing is that businesses and citizens in that area are being double taxed. They’re already in our fire district.”

Board attorney Katie Snell said the South Madison Fire District has expressed opposition and said if de-annexed then insurance for residents in the area could go up as a result.

“If Calhoun Station is taken out of our district, the response time for the fire department to get to your child, if they were involved in a vehicle accident, would increase, because Canton’s nearest station is six miles away compared to our three miles,” South Madison County Fire District Chief Henry Davis wrote in a Facebook post.

According to Davis, the issue began several years ago when the city of Canton annexed the area so the developers of Neumarkt could have their property within the city limits to be eligible for tax increment financing.

“Gluckstadt was not incorporated, (and) there were three people opposing the annexation, who were members of the Gluckstadt Fire Department, due to possible effects that it would have on the fire district, and us not getting the calls to respond to emergencies because all the calls will be going to the city of Canton, and they did, which is against the law under which we were created,” Davis posted. “We were assured that the fire district would not be affected if our opposition was dropped, with an agreement from the attorneys for the developers and city (of) Canton we dropped our opposition.”

District One Supervisor Sheila Jones requested that the Canton Fire Department and the city’s attorney return to the board with a timeline of the issue, including who was providing services there first, before the board reaches a decision.

At this past Monday’s board meeting, Gluckstadt attorney John Scanlon asked to deny to de-annexation.

The board voted to address the issue at a later date when both parties could be present and voice their respective sides.

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