Information from WYSH Radio
The Andersonville Volunteer Fire Department will officially open its third fire hall in mid-September, but the department is offering citizens a chance to get a look at the new station during an open house and grand opening celebration set for today (Tuesday) at 4 p.m.
The Belmont station, built by volunteers at a cost of $110,000, is located at the intersection of Park Road and Sequoyah Lane on the former site of the Belmont School, which burned down in the mid-1960s. The new fire station is 5,000 square feet in size.
The department’s celebration comes on the heels of a decision made last week by the Anderson County Commission that effectively cost it almost $230,000 worth of new fire trucks.
Several years ago, the county adopted a program under which each of the 11 volunteer and municipal fire departments in the county and the Rescue Squad would receive a new emergency vehicle on a rotating basis. This was to be the year that Andersonville received funding for a new vehicle, but on the heels of last year’s switch by the department to a subscription-based fee service, the Commission last week adopted a resolution that states, in part, that eligible departments cannot charge for their services.
The announcement last year of the change to the way the department was funded sparked a large community backlash and led to last week’s resolution as well as an audit of the department that is still being worked on. Officials told the Knoxville News Sentinel that only about a quarter of the 4,700 residents in their coverage area have subscribed to the service. The service costs the average homeowner between $150 to $200 a year, and the AVFD sayid that if they respond to an emergency at a home or business that are not subscribers, the property owner would be charged for their services ranging from $150 to $1,900, depending on the nature of the call.
Today’s grand opening will start at 4 p.m. Tours will be offered. A ribbon-cutting will take place at 6 p.m.
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