A town hall meeting was held at the Cool Branch Volunteer Fire Department on Wednesday, July 29, to discuss the most recent update on where funding for the Cool Branch fire and rescue departments stands between Pittsylvania and Franklin counties. Citizens from both counties showed up to voice their concerns.
The Cool Branch Volunteer Fire Department and Cool Branch Volunteer Rescue Squad are in Pittsylvania County but make most of their calls in Franklin County. A funding disagreement has put the service of the departments on the Franklin County side in limbo after multiple requests from Pittsylvania County officials asking Franklin County for more funding have been unsuccessful.
Areas such as Penhook, Union Hall and others are now facing a possible loss of service from the Cool Branch fire and rescue departments.
Starting in August of last year, Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors (PCBOS) Chairman Bob Warren sent a letter to Franklin County Board of Supervisors requesting that a cost-sharing agreement be reached regarding the funding of the Cool Branch departments.
Recently, Franklin County Board of Supervisors (FCBOS) Chairman Leland Mitchell said in a letter to the PCBOS that they are not in a position to grant more funding and are in the process of constructing a new Glade Hill Fire Station.
“We do a lot for Cool Branch as it is,” said Mitchell during a phone interview.
The new fire station that Mitchell referred to is the 11,500-square-foot multi-million dollar building that will combine both the Glade Hill Volunteer Fire Department and the Glade Hill Volunteer Rescue Squad. It will be located at Old Franklin Turnpike and Turtle Hill Road.
According to the leaders of the Cool Branch departments, Franklin County has for many years provided a flat funding of $10,000 annually to each of the Cool Branch departments.
This has been called inequitable by Pittsylvania County leaders, including Chairman Warren, who has said that in addition to providing annual funding for the departments, Pittsylvania County has also provided thousands in capital funding for apparatus to Cool Branch.
After multiple rejections, an ultimatum was sent to FCBOS stating that unless additional funding was granted, the Cool Branch departments will be ordered to cease direct response to Franklin County on Aug. 17.
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