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Midway: No vote taken on county fire plan
Midway map
Much of the area in question is bounded by Highway 17 and Interstate 95. - photo by LCDC map

Fire protection was brought up during Midway City Council’s Monday meeting. Emergency Management Director Mike Hodges and Deputy Director/Fire Chief Brian Darby offered to answer questions about the need to move a county-owned tanker truck to a station where it could serve more rural areas.

But the two fire officials were soon peppered with questions about the status of the countywide fire plan. It was widely believed that Midway had opted out of the plan but officials began to chime in commenting, “There was no vote,” and “We didn’t vote.”

Midway held a town hall meeting in November where most comments expressed were negative toward the fire plan. During the Dec. 10 council meeting each member indicated in public statements that they opposed the fire plan and would not agree with Midway joining the arrangement. Midway Mayor Levern Clancy Jr. capped the discussion by saying “We have to come up with a plan on our own.” No councilmember made a formal motion to vote on the county’s proposed fire plan.

Councilmember Dr. Clemontine Washington said, “We thought you would come back with different figures . . . we never voted.” Washington was mayor during most of the fire protection discussions, being elected to a council seat after two terms as mayor.

Councilman T. Gerald Lee said, “I left that night (after the November town hall) thinking fees were going to be adjusted.”

The council and the county officials are trying to schedule a meeting to discuss fire protection again, but no date has been set. Midway plans a work session Feb. 25, but county EMA officials will be out of town then.

Hodges and Darby explained the county’s need to move a tanker truck now stationed in Midway to a location where it can help protect rural areas of the county. The tanker provides a water supply for firefighting where no water is available from hydrants.

The county had stationed the tanker in Midway when the Midway Volunteer Fire Department had a contract with the county to serve rural areas outside the Midway city limits. Although most of Midway has fire hydrants the tanker truck could be used to serve nearby rural areas without hydrants. Those are now served by the county and the tanker truck is needed in a more central location. County officials said the tanker would be moved whether Midway and the county eventually reached an agreement on fire protection or not.

Liberty County Public Safety had notified Mayor Clancy of the need to relocate the tanker in a letter dated Jan. 17. Hodges said the move would be coordinated with Clancy and Midway Fire Chief Terrell Chipp.

Midway’s new city hall project is going well, architect Judson Bryant told the city council Monday. Most site preparation is complete, he said, and a site walk-through can be scheduled next month.

Bryant said an estimated $40,000 in cost reductions had been implemented on the project. He said he would begin reporting to the council monthly as construction accelerates after weather delays: “2018 was the second wettest year on record for us.”

A new city hall was set as Midway’s top priority in 2011 and officials had hoped to see the project completed in 2017. The city hall complex is at the intersection of Charlie Butler Road and Islands Highway, near the Cay Creek Wetlands Center.

Preliminary city hall drawings showed a double-winged building with the two major city functions, city council and municipal court, “front and center.” A large room intended for council meetings and municipal court is just off the entrance lobby, as are accessible offices for the mayor and council members.

Space for municipal court operations and staff are on the right, and administrative offices for the finance director and water department are on the left.

The police department and a sallyport are at the end of the court office wing and the water department’s bill-paying area is at the end of the administrative wing.


Parker can be contacted by email at    

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