Cherokee County has submitted a fire and emergency services proposal to the city of Canton that is eminently worthy of the city’s full consideration.
Undoubtedly, not all of the proposal’s provisions will be acceptable to the city’s mayor and council, but the proposal can represent a starting point in negotiating an arrangement that can be a win-win for both our city and our county.
The cornerstone of the proposal is the county’s willingness to build and operate fire stations in two locations that the city had sought in the bond referendum that was so roundly rejected by the voters.
These two stations, one in Laurel Canyon and one on Commerce Parkway, are considered necessary by the city and would represent needed upgrades to existing nearby county stations.
The proposal allows both entities to resolve their fire coverage issues in a manner acceptable to each.
To be certain, the terms of the proposal need serious and reasoned negotiation.
The county is asking for millage equivalent payments from the city, is willing to offer the city a credit to reduce its annual payments, and asks for the transfer of certain SPLOST monies currently held by the city.
All of these, as with the other provisions of the proposal, must be considered negotiable.
I am convinced that all of the proposal’s provisions are resolvable in good faith negotiations between the parties.
The end result, better fire and emergency coverage where it’s needed, is certainly worth the effort, and is one of those infrastructure issues that are important to the future growth of the county and the city in the years ahead.
I hope the city does not allow this opportunity to pass without serious consideration of a solution that is best for both our county and our city.
Clark J. Yaggy