Saturday, February 23, 2019
Text Size
The Tunica Times • P.O. Box 308/986 Magnolia Street, Tunica, MS 38676

County officals warned about NTFD staffing


A January 30, 2018 letter from Mississippi State Rating Bureau Field Representative Richard Parham to North Tunica County Fire District Chief Jimmie Neal set a 30 day time period for the department to have “a minimum of four (4) trained firefighters on duty at all times and this matter resolved” or face a downgrade in the current fire rating of six.

“We have been unofficially informed that the North Tunica County Fire District has only two (2) firefighters on shift and no longer meets the minimum requirements for grading for fire insurance purposes,” Parham wrote.

paypalaccess}Read more{/paypalaccess}

The Fire District board cut staff from four to two firefighters on duty round the clock as of January 1 this year, citing lack of sufficient funding to maintain its current staffing. The department has been struggling to stay afloat for over a year, the result of a dip in revenues produced by a 5 mill tax. That tax no longer produces the amount of revenue it once did; the assessed property values in the district declined after the closure of the county’s largest casino resort, Harrah’s Tunica, in 2015.

The Fire District’s board held an emergency meeting last Friday, in an attempt to craft an agreement satisfactory to both the county supervisors and state regulators. Commissioners learned that County Fire Coordinator Tommy Harrison had met with county administrator Adrian McKay and Board of Supervisors president James Dunn to develop a plan to get four firefighters back on duty temporarily while pay per call firefighters are recruited and trained.

Fire District attorney Andy Dulaney told commissioners that he recommended a signed agreement between the county and the North Tunica Fire District, to go into effect on March 1.

Harrison said such an agreement would get the Fire District through the next 12 months, with an additional 12 months added if the district can show good progress toward establishing a pool of pay per call firefighters. He said there would need to be 12 to 15 active volunteers in this pool to sustain four men on duty round the clock.

The Fire District board eventually approved a motion to set the agreement at 12 months, to start the first month after all parties agree to it, with the county supplementing the regular tax collections with about $35,000 per month. The Fire District would bring the staffing back to four full-time firefighters and also recruit volunteers for the pay per call pool.

After this motion, the NTCFD board voted to add two full-time firefighters to its staff, effective March 1.

North Tunica Fire Chief Jimmie Neal issued a letter Tuesday setting try-outs on March 6 for full-time firefighters. These try-outs will start at 8 a.m. at the Fire Station at Robinsonville and include an orientation, a physical ability test and a written exam. There will then be interviews that afternoon, based on the results of the morning’s testing.

County supervisors did not take up the proposed agreement with the North Tunica Fire District at this week’s meeting. The county board does not meet again until March 5.

Latest News

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8

Facebook Connect

Yahoo Map Directions

Street and Number:
Zip Code: