Contract dispute leaves Cottonwood Shores without aid of volunteer fire department

JARED FIELDS • PICAYUNE STAFF

COTTONWOOD SHORES — For now, the Cottonwood Shores Volunteer Fire Department is not responding to fire emergencies or city ordinance violation calls within the city limits.

EMS service is not affected.

The department’s board decided Oct. 8 not to respond to fire calls because the city and the volunteers have not agreed on a contract for the new fiscal year, which began Oct. 1.

“This decision was met with heavy opposition from several board members, but even those that opposed it in open discussion voted for not responding to these types of calls,” VFD Chief Deavon DeLancey said.

DeLancey said responding to fire calls “poses a liability risk without a contract or other interim agreement in place between us and the city of Cottonwood Shores.”

The volunteer department has asked for $36,000 a year from the city, citing rising costs in training and equipment. The city has offered $32,000.

The city also has added language that holds the department responsible, in part, for the city’s ISO rating. This is the value insurance companies utilize in helping determine property and homeowner insurance rates.

“Our board members have compromised and worked to put together a contract that we believe our department can uphold,” DeLancey said. “However, City Council continues to try to push criteria that we don’t believe our department can strive to achieve at this point.”

Cottonwood Shores city administrator Sheila Moore said the city will see if another proposal is brought to the next regular council meeting Oct. 17.

The city has inter local and mutual aid agreements with Marble Falls and Horseshoe Bay fire departments, Moore said.

“If a call went out with something major that needed taken care of, I’m sure they would respond,” Moore said.

jared@thepicayune.com