West Florence seeks backing from county council for new resource

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FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – A new ladder truck for the West Florence Fire District is nearly ready for pickup, but there is one issue holding the district back from getting it.

It all pertains to the pending litigation concerning the West Florence Fire District and Florence County.

“Our finance company, the way we are trying to finance the truck, required a letter due to the pending litigation that the county would pick up the payment if something were to happen and we lost the lawsuit,“ said Dustin Fails, chairman of the West Florence Fire District.

On Monday morning, West Florence Fire District leaders met with members of Florence County Council to ask for that letter.

“If they don’t get this done and they don’t take delivery of the truck, it’s a $275,000 penalty. That’s taxpayer money and that concerns me a lot,” Florence County Chairman Kent Caudle said.

Back in 2014, Florence County Council moved to consolidate all of Florence County’s fire district into one big district.

It was an effort the county said would ensure an equal fire tax for all.

The initiative was also around the same time people living in West Florence said they would be taxed unfairly and were able to get the legislature to create the West Florence Special Purpose District, a move still going back and forth in court.

The question is why is the ladder truck needed.

“The current truck is over 20 years old and it has some age on it, so ISO recommends we have two ladder trucks in our district,” Fails said.

The county did commit to buying a new ladder truck for West Florence once all the legal matters are clear. On Wednesday, council will vote on whether or not it will send the letter.

If approved, the truck could be here on Friday.

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