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Currituck claims backup fire plan
The Daily Advance (Unknown Date)

Currituck County officials say a contingency plan to provide fire protection county-wide is in place if four fire districts fail to sign annual service contracts required by the county for continued operation.

In the wake of fire district policy changes, four of the county's five volunteer fire protection districts are not signing service contracts with the county due to fears those changes will take authority from the districts. On Tuesday, the Carova Beach Volunteer Frie Department announced it will not sign a proposed contract as submitted. The Lower Currituck, Corolla and Crawford Fire Districts are submitting revisions to their proposed contracts and may not sign until a compromise can be made, fire officials said Thursday.

According to Currituck spokeswoman Diane Sawyer, the Moyock Fire District is the only volunteer organization to sign the contract. The contract is necessary if the districts want to receive public funds to run fire protection operations. Sawyer said if those districts do not sign, Currituck Fire Chief Dusty Ruscoe "is looking at a contingency plan for fire service in the county." She could not confirm, however, the details of the plan.

"I cannot share the details of that play because there are no specific details to that plan," Sawyer said.

Regardless of the ongoing contract dispute, fire districts and stations said they are committed to maintaining fire protection services. Lower Currituck VFD spokesman Mitch Copeland said he believes a contingency plan points to the likelihood that county officials anticipated terms in the new contract would not be accepted.

Copeland said Lower Currituck volunteers are committed to continuing service regardless of the county's contingency plan. Copeland and Carova Beach VFD board member Kathy Kirch said both departments have liability insurance coverage for firefighters and both are investigating alternatives to the current contract to maintain service to their communities.

At issue is an administrative policy change made by county officials in recen weeks, shifting fire district financial responsibilities to the county's finance office. The change was due, in part, to six years of missing audits from Corolla and Lower Currituck districts. The missing audits also lead to a probe into allegations of embezzlement from the Lower Currituck VFD account.


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Moyock Fire Department * P.O. Box 81 * 108 Fire Station Court * Moyock, NC 27958
252.435.2281 * Fax: 252.435.6450 * moyock@moyockfd.com