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Mayor Vetoes Fire Services Study

Mayor Gene Hobgood refused to approve the $15,000 expenditure because the City of Canton is so close to earning an ISO rating of 3.

The Canton City Council will hear Mayor Gene Hobgood's reasons behind his May 26 veto of the proposed fire services fuding feasibility study budget amendment during their Thursday evening meeting.

Councilman Bob Rush had suggested that the city pay Ecological Planning Group $15,000 to perform the study, seeing as they had done similar work for Garden City, GA. If approved, the study would have presented the council with several different funding options for the city's fire services and looked at some different fire service options.

This study will have to wait, says Hobgood, because the City of Canton is only 1.6 points away from an ISO rating of Class 3, which would put the city's fire department in the top four percent of all local departments in the country.

"[T]here was no longer any urgency regarding a quick decision as to the overall improvement of our fire service," Hobgood wrote in his mayoral veto explanation.

The mayor would like to see the recently-appointed Fire Services Committee, which held its first meeting Tuesday, "immediately investigate the required needs of our fire service to achieve the Class 3 ISO rating, to estimate the Cost and time required to achieve a Class 3 and to determine what if any additional funding is necessary at this time."

Until the city committee has made its recommendations, Hobgood wrote that the proposed fire services feasibility study should not be conducted.

The Canton City Council will also:

  • Discuss whether or not ISO ratings have any bearing on insurance rates. During the May 23 mayoral town hall, Councilman Glen Cummins said he would present studies that show that ISO ratings do not affect insurance rates.
  • Discuss the contentious issue of compensation for the mayor and council. Hobgood has gone on record that he will not vote himself a pay raise, but the majority of the council believes that with the ending of the generous pension plan for council members that there needs to be more financial incentive for people to run for office.
  • Get an update on Etowah River Park from Councilman John Beresford.
  • Get an update on unincorporated islands within the city from Rush.
  • Discuss appointing Downtown Development Authority Committee members to replace Zack Kell, Rebecca Johnston, Stan Rogers, and Doug Key.
  • Discuss and possibly act on a budget amendment that would allow the city to purchase a truck.

Please see the attached agenda and mayoral veto for more information on Thursday's meeting.

The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. at Canton City Hall. Canton-Sixes Patch will carry a live stream of the meeting for those who are unable to attend the meeting in person.

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