(Cleveland)- The City of Cleveland and White County have announced they will be entering into discussions regarding the consolidation of fire protection services for the city of Cleveland and White County. 

The announcement was made separately by each government during meetings Monday.  White County Commission Chairman Travis Turner said during their meeting that his hope is to have enhanced services and Turner said they need to explore the possibilities, “ let’s run the numbers, let’s see financially if this is going to be a win, win, but at the end of the day are we giving enhanced service to not only the City of Cleveland but also to our citizens of White County,” said Turner.

Cleveland Mayor Josh Turner told the county commission board that, “ we are going into this with public safety as top priority,” and they look for continued cooperative nature.”

White County and Cleveland have been working together under a mutual aid agreement, Monday’s  joint statement said, “ While the current mutual aid agreement allows the city and county to work closely with each other on the delivery of fire services, it is important to note that both agencies have an obligation to the taxpayers to operate as efficiently as possible and reduce any duplication of services.”

The White County Commissioners unanimously approved the negotiation idea and so did the Cleveland Council during their meeting Monday evening, but after Mayor Josh Turner made the announcement and ask for a motion for approval there was a long pause before Councilwoman Nan Bowen finally made the motion to approve, Councilwoman  Rebecca Yardley second the motion.  

Commission Chairman Turner said he wants the county’s Emergency Services Director, David Murphy, along with County Fire Chief Seth Weaver to work with Cleveland Fire Chief Ricky Pruitt to see what they can work out where White County Fire Services would take over the operation of the Cleveland Fire Station and that station become a part of the White County Fire Service. 

Mayor Turner said, “there will be ample opportunity for the public to provide input and share concerns throughout this process including a public hearing.”  

 If things work out officials hope to implement any agreement starting July first, 2022.