Fort Oglethorpe city council members to vote on fire service consolidation

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FORT OGLETHORPE, Ga. (WDEF) — The decision on whether the Fort Oglethorpe Fire Department will be turned over to Catoosa County, is not over.

Changes could be coming to the department.

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“The City of Fort Oglethorpe is working closely with the Catoosa County Commission on an intergovernmental agreement that would essentially consolidate our fire services. The city of Ringgold has had the exact same agreement since 2008 with Catoosa County, so our agreement would be very similar,” city manager Jenny Simpkins said.

On Tuesday, commissioners voted unanimously for this agreement. Now, city council members have to decide whether to approve it.

Simpkins says for years, Catoosa County paid the City of Fort Oglethorpe to provide fire service in certain areas.

“The intent of that agreement was eventually the county is going to have enough resources, enough equipment, sufficient fire stations to cover the entire unincorporated Catoosa County area and they would no longer need the city to provide that service,” Simpkins said.

If this goes through, the city manager says full time firefighters with the Fort Oglethorpe Fire Department will be offered the same position in the county.

“We’ve met with them one on one, with the County’s HR director, and we are very hopeful that a lot of them, if not all of them, will accept the position in Catoosa County.”

SImpkins says this will not negatively impact response times.

“I would say your city council, your mayor and city council in Fort Oglethorpe, would not even consider this option if they had any reason to believe that our level of service would decline.”

City council members will vote on this on Monday night.

If approved, the changes would go into effect on January 1, 2020.