WILLIAMSON — The Mingo County Board of Education heard from two representatives of the West Virginia State Fire Chief’s Association at its regular meeting Tuesday night.
Williamson Fire Chief Jerry Mounts and East Fork Fire Chief and Williamson Police Department Sergeant John Hall spoke to the board members regarding the upcoming countywide election in March which will feature a pair of levies — an excess levy for county schools and the previously-defeated fire levy.
Mounts said that he and Hall were there to let the board know that their association was in support of the school levy and presented a resolution stating the association’s full support. He said that the levy was discussed at their last meeting and was subsequently approved.
Mounts said that the fire levy would be alongside the school levy during the March 23 election, and said that he hoped the gesture of support for the school levy would garner support from the board of education for the fire levy.
The fire levy was defeated by 91 votes when it last appeared on the ballot, despite having around 3,000 votes in favor. It needed 60 percent to pass, but only accrued 58 percent.
Board member Dave Farley was the first to react to the offer of swapping support for each other’s levies, saying that the fire levy was needed and had his support.
President Bill Duty said noted that it was needed, “especially for our schools and children.”
The other members of the board, Mike Carter, Stephan “Cheetah” Marcum and Orville Messer, along with Superintendent Randy Keathley, all chimed in, offering their support.
“I commend you both,” Carter said. “It’s needed. Not only does it keep our homes and families safe, it will in turn help our schools.”
“It’s good that we have people like you to protect our kids,” Marcum said.
“I truly appreciate you,” Messer said.
“It doesn’t just protect homes, but it also educates our kids during fire protection week. I couldn’t comprehend how our county would function without you,” Keathley said.
Farley motioned for the board to go on record as giving its support to the fire levy, which was carried unanimously.
“If the levy passes, it will improve the quality of our fire departments,” Mounts said. “Which will improve the quality of life for everyone in Mingo County.”