MOUNT IDA – The Sims Volunteer Fire Department spoke briefly at the Montgomery County Quorum Court meeting Monday night about their progress to return to service in the Sims Community.
Several representatives from the Sims VFD were on hand at the Quorum Court meeting. The fire department has established itself as a non-profit organization by registering with the Arkansas Secretary of State’s Office. They have weekly meetings which they reported are well attended with board members elected by majority vote. And their By-Laws have been filed in the Montgomery County Clerk’s Office.
The next step for the department is for fire district lines to be redrawn to create a Sims Fire District. The Sims Fire District was dissolved in November 2019 with their coverage area split between Oden/Pencil Bluff and S&L VFD. The action was taken with the former Board of Directors of the Sims VFD had petitioned the quorum court to be designated a Fire Protection District. The wording of the petition was of concern to county JPs because they were required to approve the petition. Many of the JPs disagreed with the process and the end result was the dissolution of the Sims Fire District.
A lawsuit was filed by the former Board of Directors to force the petition through, but in the meantime a group of Sims residents gathered and voted to replace the old Board of Directors. For a time there were two groups claiming to be the Board of Directors of the Sims VFD with the current group gaining possession of the Fire Department after an agreement was reached by the two parties.
The representatives of the Sims VFD present at Monday’s meeting indicated that the community has requested they return to service and a majority vote has been taken to proceed with a request to redraw the district lines.
They currently have 18 qualified members and three in training. There are three buildings in compliance and in use. There are four tankers and two pump trucks operational. They have passed a pump test and they have completed a hose test on their pump trucks. They have backflushed dry hydrants and have undergone portable tank training. They have also filed their ISO paperwork.
The next steps for the fire department is to get the fire district lines reestablished so they can get their worker compensation insurance. After a time they will then ask for an ISO evaluation. They expect to receive a Class 9 ISO Rating when this occurs.
County Judge Sammy Jones stated that it would be at least a month before the county could draw up the necessary ordinance to redraw the Sims Fire District lines.
Once the department begins answering calls once again they will have to gather data regarding fire calls for about a year before they can be evaluated.
In other business:
JPs approved a transfer ordinance that transfers funds to cover vacation buy back for two county employees.
JPs approved an ordinance appropriating funds from the County Recorder’s Cost Fund to the County Recorder’s Cost Fund budget. The money was available through a grant from the Association of Arkansas Counties Automated Records System Grant Fund. The funds will be used for a scanning project.
JPs approved an ordinance making statutory county, city and school tax levy for the year 2021-22. The tax levies were for real and personal property.
JPs approved an appropriation ordinance appropriating funds from the American Rescue Plan Fund to pay a one time salary adjustment for premium pay to Montgomery County Employees and Elected Officials.
Full time eligible employees receive a flat $1,000 payment plus an additional $200 per month they worked between January 27, 2020 and September 30, 2021.
Part time eligible employees will receive a flat $500 payment plus an additional $100 per month they worked during the same period.
JPs received their budget proposals for 2022. They will vote on the budget at the December meeting to be held Monday, December 13, at 6 p.m. at the Montgomery County Courtroom.
With no further business the meeting was adjourned.
Sims VFD requests district lines be redrawn