Lake Logan fire department closer

The Lake Logan-Cecil Volunteer Fire Department still has time to get its books in shape and hold a legal annual meeting at 7 p.m. Friday night.

The department’s fire chief said on Saturday there were no board positions up for election this year — something that is contradictory to the organization’s bylaws.

Article II of the bylaws that pertain to governing boards states: “Every two years, two members of the board of directors will be replaced by the voting at the annual meeting,” thus a way to ensure an ongoing chain of information within the board.

The organization’s bylaws also state that board members must live within the fire district, something that isn’t the case with at least one board member.

Hopefully the governing board will review its minutes, figure out who is filling whose unexpired term and hold an annual meeting on Friday that follows the rules.

The stakes are high. The fire district is financed by a $.10 per $100 of value levy on property within the district boundaries that’s collected by Haywood County, a tax that raises about $140,000 annually. The commissioners then contract with the district to handle medical calls and fire protection services.

The terms of the agreement between the county and the fire department are very specific — and are contractually binding. If there is a contract breach, there are provisions in place for other options to be considered.

As with many worthwhile efforts and organizations, people aren’t knocking the doors down to volunteer their time to help their community. Times are different now than they were just a couple decades ago when building a fire department in the Lake Logan-Cecil communities was the subject of fundraisers, petition drives and commitment.

Though interest may have waned through the years, fire district issues are important. They determine a property owner’s insurance costs, which are based on the fire district rating, and are the front-line protection for district residents in the event of a fire or accident.

The status of automatic call-out mutual aid agreements between the Lake Logan-Cecil Volunteer Fire Department and neighboring departments seems up in the air. The fire chief said there is no such agreement with Center Pigeon, one of the nearest departments, but was unsure whether there were formal agreements with other departments.

The reason such agreements matter is that they determine which fire departments are automatically notified when certain 911 calls are made — ones like structure fires or when human lives are in danger.

In these cases, seconds matter. Waiting for the Lake Logan-Cecil crew to arrive on the scene and for the chief to assess whether another district or department should be called in is a disservice to property owners who foot the bill.

Friday night is the time for residents in Lake Logan and Cecil to show up at the fire station, 4291 Lake Logan Road in Canton, learn more about their fire department operations, speak up if they are so inclined and step up to help.

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