TRINITY - Trinity officials are forming a task force that will
evaluate the city's current fire-protection arrangement and
possibly look into the feasibility of changing the system to
allow one agency to cover the entire city.
Currently, the Guil-Rand Fire Department serves most of the
city. The Fair Grove Fire Department has jurisdiction over a
portion of western Trinity near Thomasville.
"The idea is to get the task force to see if ... our residents
are getting equitable service," said City Manager Ann Bailie. "I
think we need to look at response times, at equipment, at the
issue of volunteer and paid, and whether or not that makes any
difference whatsoever. ... I think the objective (of the task
force) will be to look at all that and the tax rates, and come
up with a recommendation as to whether or not we should keep it
the way it is or look at having a unified district, and, if so,
which department should provide it."
When the idea of forming a group to study these issues was
broached at the council's retreat in January, the consensus then
was to pursue it, Bailie said.
At a meeting Tuesday, the City Council may finalize
appointments to the task force, which, as currently envisioned,
will consist of two council members and two city residents,
though Bailie said she may recommend that more residents serve.
The city has solicited applications from residents to serve
on the task force in the hopes of finding people with experience
in emergency services and/or a background in quantitative
The majority of the city's 17 square miles are within Guil-Rand's
jurisdiction. Residents within its coverage area, which includes
all of Archdale and parts of northwestern Randolph and southern
Guilford counties, pay a tax rate of 10 cents per $100 of
assessed property value annually for fire protection.
In addition to the section of Trinity that it covers, Fair
Grove responds to fires within portions of eastern Davidson and
northwestern Randolph counties.
Within Trinity, its coverage area includes large residential
subdivisions such as Steeplegate, as well as homes in Colonial
Residents within its coverage area pay 6.5 cents per $100 of
assessed property value each year for its services.
The task force could begin meeting later this month. It's not
yet clear how long it will take to complete its work or when it
will present its findings, along with possible recommended
changes, to the council.
One issue the group likely will take up has to do with the
procedure for changing fire district boundaries within the city,
a matter about which there is some confusion.
Trinity City Attorney Bob Wilhoit said he and Randolph County
Attorney Aimee Scotton are researching this with the help of Ben
Loeb, a professor of public law and government at the University
of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's School of Government and an
expert on fire protection law.
Wilhoit said Loeb's initial interpretation of the matter is
that the county board of commissioners has authority over
But settling the issue depends in part on how each fire
department was formed - whether through a referendum or action
by the commissioners, for instance. This is still being
researched, Wilhoit said.
He added that he expects these issues to be settled within
the next two weeks.