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January 13, 2011

Tenn. plan to combine fire, rescue services gets OK

News Sentinel

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — A longterm plan to combine Cleveland, Tenn., and Bradley County fire, rescue and medical services got the endorsement Wednesday of the Cleveland City Council in a unanimous vote.

The Bradley County Commission on Wednesday also discussed the plan, proposed by City Councilman Richard Banks, but the commission was not in a voting meeting.

Combining the two fire departments has been one of three options the city and county have debated for months. The county pays the city $1.8 million a year for fire service to urban county areas just outside the city limits. The county's full-time department, plus a force of volunteers, provides rural fire service.

The other options are crafting a new contract or maintaining separate fire departments. If the current contract expires, the city has said it could have to lay off fire department members or raise taxes to replace the revenue.

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