FAYETTE - The Fayette Fire Department has been through a whirlwind of events in the past 24 hours, after the city's Board of Alderman decided, and then reversed, its decision to make the department into private contractors.
After a review by the city clerk and city attorney, the city found that the fire department had never actually been established as an entity of the city. Thursday night, the Board of Alderman voted to recognize the fire department officially, but pay them as private contractors rather than as city employees.
After public concerns were heard, an emergency meeting was held by the Board of Alderman Friday morning to repeal the ordinance.
Robin Triplett, the city clerk, believes there is a lot of public confusion about the ordinance.
"The intention of the ordinance was to establish the fire department, pay them through a 1099 process instead of a W2 process because they're technically, since we do not have an ordinance, they're not technically city employees."
Many people who live in Fayette were concerned when they heard about the ordinance. Many incorrectly assumed the city would not fund the fire department at all.
Bob Bockting, owner of B&M Auto Repair, has lived in Fayette his entire life.
Roughly 15 years ago, his house was struck by lightning, setting his house on fire.
"It was way up in the morning, and I was sleeping. I didn't know. My dog woke me up, or it would have burnt the whole thing down."
Bockting says the Fayette Fire Department arrived quickly and saved his house and him. Bockting believes the department is doing a great job and should be sustained by the city.
Triplett says the Board of Alderman heard the public's concern and is now looking into different solutions.
"We have talked about becoming a member of the Howard County Fire Protection District. We've talked about contracting with them and we've also talked about doing an ordinance establishing our own fire department."
The Fayette Fire Department already uses a building, equipment and other resources from the Howard County Fire Protection District.
Funding for the fire department will be discussed at the next Board of Alderman meeting on June 2. Until then, the Fayette Fire Department will continue to operate as it did in the past.