Oxford mayor Lloyd Jenkins, second from left, shakes hands with Keith Hunter, Cumberland County warden, after signing a 15-year fire services agreement on Friday. The county's deputy warden, Ralph Welton, and councilor Kathy Redmond display the coverage area the town's fire department will service. Raissa Tetanish - Amherst Daily News
OXFORD - Two of the county's towns now have fire service agreements in place for the next 15 years after the Town of Oxford and the Municipality of Cumberland County signed an agreement on Friday.
"This ends a long struggle that Oxford had in getting agreements with the Municipality," said Oxford mayor Lloyd Jenkins. "For the next 15 years, Oxford will know the amount of money received from the county."
The agreement is for $48,000 per year, adjusted for the Consumer Price Index (CPI), inclusive of operating and capital costs. It also includes no withdrawal rights, a definition of service levels and the coverage area, and a dispute resolution mechanism by binding arbitration.
"The Oxford Fire Department provides great service for this area," said Warden Keith Hunter. "I know that response times from other rural fire departments to get into the Town of Oxford would be very undesirable and it's nice to have a long-term agreement."
The agreement signing comes one week after the county finalized a 15-year, $147,000-base agreement with the Town of Amherst. The county believes it will have an agreement with the Town of Springhill within the next week or two, and hopefully Parrsboro shortly after that.
Both Jenkins and Hunter agree that special appreciation should be given to their respective fire department members for their input and advice in the resolution of this matter.
The county also believes removing the dollar request of $286,000 plus capital from the Town of Amherst from the negotiations process has facilitated the agreement.
"The signing of this agreement today is a perfect example of how quickly we can reach an agreement when we focus on service to our residents and the long-term mutual benefits to our municipalities rather than simply the dollar amounts," Hunter said.