Taxpayers appeal Florence Co. fire consolidation

FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Florence County's new fire district is starting to get a lot of backlash. Some taxpayers are taking the county to court over it.

The lawsuit was filed May 30. In it, two taxpayers said Florence County Council illegally combined the six fire departments.

"Several concerns have been issued by residents. I represent two parties, as we legally say," said Attorney Jay Jordan.

Jay Jordan is the local attorney representing two people, who say Florence County's new county wide fire district was created illegally.

"We believe that, and this is where the challenge arises: that the statute that was used for the basis of the appeal was not the correct statute. So ,it's not necessarily that the county can't do this, they just didn't go about it quite the right way," said Jordan.

According to the appeal, the two people spearheading these efforts are from the West Florence and Howe Springs areas.

Jordan said while he is just representing those two parties, he has gotten numerous calls from people complaining about Florence County's Fire District.

Florence County leaders voted to consolidate six fire departments to address funding, volunteer and training problems.

As with any ordinance, there is a 20-day period which allows for taxpayers who are affected by an ordinance to file an appeal.

"What I believe will ultimately be accomplished, is the court will have to hear our case and will ultimately have to make a decision on whether or not the county did what they were supposed to do, in the way they were supposed to do it," said Jordan.

With the county looking into possible legal action against the state legislator for allegedly illegally removing the West Florence area from the Florence County Fire District, and with taxpayers now taking the county to court – WMBF News reached out to the county for comment but were unable to reach anyone.

Jordan said he has a strong case and thinks the court will rule in his clients' favor.

"I believe we will be successful, and the county will have to sit down and consider is this the mechanism by which we are going to accomplish consolidation and if it's not they are going to have to go back to the drawing board and start again if that's what they choose to do," said Jordan.

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