UNION COUNTY — The Union County Council met for regular session Tuesday evening and received a presentation on an aid agreement involving most county fire departments and learned that the airport had received a $305,891 federal grant.
Automatic Aid Agreement
The first order of business at Tuesday’s meeting was the presentation of an automatic aid agreement for all fire departments in the county with the exception of the City of Union. The terms of the agreement for universal fire protection were agreed upon and signed by each of the fire chiefs and boards on May 19. Per the agreement, when a department is dispatched to a fire, two of the closest departments will also be dispatched to assist.
County Supervisor Frank Hart said procedures had been handled within each department in the past, which created some discrepancies and confusion for 911.
“This is the first time in a long time we’ve had countywide cooperation in this,” Hart said.
Southside Fire Chief Michael Lancaster said the goal of each department in the county is to make sure citizens have adequate fire protection.
Union County Airport Director Ronnie Wade informed council members that the airport received a federal grant for $305,891 to add to the $166,000 grant received last year.
“This is the money we were hoping for,” Wade said, explaining that this allowed the airport to recoup funds spent to purchase properties for expansion of the airport.
On Aug. 3, there will be an auction held for four houses, one manufactured home and one garage on Sardis Road in Union, as well as a house on Poplar Road in Jonesville. Buyers will pay the price of the winning bid in addition to the cost of getting the homes moved from their current locations. Wade said those who are interested may contact him to set up a time for movers to come look at the homes and give estimates on moving them.
Council members unanimously passed a resolution to allow the county supervisor to renegotiate the terms for the lease of the SC Works office. Hart said there had been questions about the rent of the facility since the state had cut funding to the program.
“We would probably have to eliminate the rent for that building,” Hart said. “We own the building. They asked for one year to waive the rent. I feel it is important for us to maintain that service.”
Council member Ben Ivey agreed.
“If we don’t have it here, it will be a struggle for our people here looking for employment,” he said.
Hart also said part of the agreement is that a local employee will remain at the Union office.
Council also voted unanimously to hire a mechanic for ambulances as part of a plan to reduce EMS costs. Hart said ambulances are currently serviced by mechanics in North Carolina, and adding one local mechanic will reduce costs. He also said the new mechanic would be particularly for preventive maintenance such as tire rotations and oil changes. The salary range for the position is $23,887-$33,615, depending on the certification of the individual. The funding for salary will come from the EMS budget for outside services.
Hart presented the Supervisor’s Report, during which he said a federal judge approved Wallace Thomson Hospital’s affiliation with Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System (SRHC) on July 8. The hospital had filed bankruptcy as part of its plan to affiliate with SRHC. Wallace Thomson Hospital will be renamed Union Medical Center, and Ellen Sagar Nursing Home will be renamed Ellen Sagar Nursing Center.
Hart thanked Union Hospital District CEO Paul Newhouse, the UHD board and county council for their respective roles in the process.
“It’s hard to attract people, business or industry without a hospital,” Hart said, and he referred to the county’s financial assistance to the UHD. “Without those payroll advancements, we would not have a hospital.”
Hart also mentioned that Spartanburg Community College is working toward giving high school students more mechatronics instruction and credit at the Union County Advanced Technology Center. He said a group of high school students will receive credit, and by the time they finish high school, they will have enough credit for an associate’s degree with an emphasis in mechatronics.
Another item Hart mentioned included a letter from the Town of Carlisle requesting code enforcement assistance. He also said Timken is working on expanding parking availability at Timken Sports Complex.
The next county council meeting will be held Aug. 11 at the new Carlisle Fire Department.