According to Kevin Colson, President of the Johnson County (Mountain City, TN) Firefighter's Association, their organization plans to request the county commissioners to enact the Tennessee fire tax that the state already has in place.
Currently, the eight volunteer fire departments receive $16,250 annually from the county's general fund. With each department's operating budget running approximately $30,000 to $45,000, they are drastically under funded. Aging equipment, including fire trucks, needs repair, and in many cases, outright replacement. "Sending our firefighters out with faulty gear and equipment is a safety hazard," says Colson. "We're facing increased training requirements, which are necessary but time consuming, leaving us very little time for fund-raising." The county fire department members logged over 5,000 training hours in 2006.