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Fire truck swap gets approval

By Jeremy Weldon

Panola supervisors approved the swapping of fire trucks between two county volunteer fire departments this week, making it clear they consider the complaints and discussions of other fire departments about the matter petty and not conducive to providing the best fire protection possible for citizens.

County Emergency Management Director Daniel Cole asked the supervisors to bless a simple plan to swap a large capacity and more powerful truck at Sardis Lower Lake Fire Dept. for a truck that was stationed at the Pope Fire Dept.

“We have to do something about this, I’ve had 20 calls about this truck,” said Earl Burdette (District 2).

“Well you’re about to get 40 more when we make this decision,” replied Cole Flint (District 5).

Supervisor Chad Weaver (District 4), with Cole, said the matter seemed clear to him. “There are individuals on the fire department that couldn’t handle that size truck, so they have this

truck that half the department that responds they cannot handle and the truck they’ve always used and everybody is used to is sitting at Pope.”

“All they want to do is get their original truck back and they are willing to hand the other one to Pope which needs it,” Weaver said, adding that volunteers from Pope had been to the Sardis Lower Lake department to drive the larger truck and said it would be an asset to their unit.

“If the Pope Fire Department is happy and the Sardis Lower Lake Fire Department is happy about swapping that’s as far as it needs to go, and none of the other departments need to get involved,” John Thomas (District 3) said.

Cole said the larger truck carries 500 more gallons of water than the truck at the Pope.

In other business at their Monday meeting, the supervisors agreed to allow David Burnette to pursue a course of action that would allow him to put a gate on Pund Rd. where family property begins. No one lives on the end of the road and no adjacent landowners would lose right of way to their property if the road is blocked.

A public hearing will be required, along with a number of legal steps taken, to close a portion of the dead end road.

The board gave approval for Tax Assessor/Collector O’dell Draper to enter into a contract with RJ Young Inc. for a new copier and service for his office. The move will save $58 a month, Draper reported.

Supervisors instructed Road Manager Lygunnah Bean to make a plan for improvements to Court Street, north of Main St., and for the cleaning of the ditches in the area.

“We’ve been talking about doing something for years, but that road is terrible and it’s time to get it done,” said Thomas, the supervisors for that district.

Bean agreed the street and ditches have not been cleaned and maintained in several years, noting that his department was reluctant to spray herbicides and weed killers around the ditches because workers did not want to put chemicals near the water.