Cherokee County will hold off on its formal presentation tonight during the Canton City Council meeting, said Mayor Gene Hobgood.
The presentation was on the original agenda for the meeting.
Hobgood said he didn’t think a formal presentation would accomplish anything since the majority of the council has expressed opposition to consolidating.
“It’s pretty clear to me that at this point, the council doesn’t have any real interest in moving towards consolidation,” he said. “There’s no need to beat a dead horse.”
The council will consider overriding Hobgood’s veto of a fire district ordinance it passed during its July 19 meeting.
Hobgood announced his veto last Thursday and the mayor noted it appears the council will overrule his decision.
The mayor added he still opposes the ordinance, and still believes consolidation is the best route to take.
The proposal for postponing the county’s decision appeared to have originated in a deal between Hobgood and council member Bill Bryan.
Bryan had planned to discuss possibly reducing Hobgood’s budget of roughly $93,000, but decided to postpone talking about it if the mayor agreed to remove the presentation from the agenda.
Bryan said the mayor “graciously” agreed to remove the topic from the agenda, and he also did the same.
He noted he felt any presentation would drive a “wedge” between the two fire departments due the release of a report compiled by the county that detailed the response to the Canterbury Ridge Apartments fire in May.
“To try to divide these two departments through political disagreeing is just unconscionable,” he said.
The report, penned by Cherokee County Fire Chief Tim Prather, detailed how the city of Canton’s fire department relied heavily on Cherokee County Fire and Emergency Services’ equipment and manpower.
Bryan added he felt it was time the council moves on from talking about consolidation.
“It’s a dead issue,” he said. “The issue now is how we move forward.”
Council member Bob Rush, who originally proposed the idea to create the ordinance, said the council continues to fine-tune its proposal.
Council member John Beresford agreed and said once the council decides its action on Hobgood’s veto, they will then sit down and discuss the funding mechanism for the district.
“Hopefully, if it passes, the county will get the message that the city is going to run its own fire operations … and run its own business in the city,” he said.