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SPLOST money buys Midway fire truck
City and county officials celebrate the arrival of the Midway Volunteer Fire Department’s new service truck. - photo by Phgoto by Patty Leon
It took eight years but the Midway Volunteer Fire Department finally drove a new service truck into the station last Friday. Mayor Don Emmons said the truck was possible because of the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.
Calling it the first of many steps to ensure the county has the necessary equipment to serve its communities, the mayor patted Liberty County Fire Coordinator James Ashdown on the shoulder, applauding the coordinator and  county Commissioner Marion Stevens.
“We’ve talked about having a truck like this in this town for at least eight years,” Emmons said to a crowd of firemen and citizens gathered to see the new vehicle. “So I know the struggle he went through and for that let’s give this man (Ashdown) a round of applause. And also for Marion. Without him we would be dead in the water. For all the fire personnel in the room, this is a really in honor for everything you do for the city and for the county. Don’t ever think for one second your work goes unnoticed.”
Ashdown said the Lake George Fire station will receive a truck in August and Riceboro, Fleming and Midway will receive new vehicles in September.
Ashdown said the county hired consultants three years ago to develop the county’s master fire plan and they came up with an initial $7 million project for capital improvements.
The consultants surveyed the entire county and said there was a greater need in the eastern portion of the county because of a larger population and a higher rate of emergency calls in the area. Ashdown said there are new vehicles slated for the west end of Liberty County as well, but there are other issues that require immediate attention.
“The problem is a lot of things had to be done before the trucks got here,” Ashdown said. “The biggest thing was to get a station where you could house them and the west end doesn’t have the capabilities of doing that right now. Plus we still have some SPLOST money to spend and I’m hoping to get at least one station built on the west end.”
Ashdown said the countywide capital improvements will address expected population growth and upgrades to current facilities.
“I just want to say that this is another day that the good Lord has blessed us,” Stevens said. “Many years ago we hired Mr. Ashdown as our fire coordinator and to Mr. Ashdown personally, I want to say thank you for a job well done.”
“This is real SPLOST money at work out here,” Emmons said. “This is what we pay that extra penny, every time we pay a dollar, it’s so vital and that is what people need to understand. It’s not some pie in the sky, not some project to come, here is something used for service today. With that piece of equipment we have the possibility of lowering our ISO ratings again which is another direct savings to the community. We are just tickled to death with it.”
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