The debate over emergency services in Shelby County hit the turning point Monday. There's a 911 deal.
After a year of wrangling, Mayor AC Wharton says Shelby County's 911 contract is signed and sealed. But the contract and his proposed fire tax won't be delivered until the County Commission gives it a stamp of approval.
Germantown and Collierville are now officially on board after threatening to create their own 911 system.
Residents were upset about delayed response times.
Wharton presented the new contract to commissioners. It would add six new ambulances, and six new paramedics reducing response times to nine minutes in urban areas and ten and a half minutes in rural areas.
But the big issue during Monday's County Commission meeting was the proposed fire tax for unincorporated areas.
Instead of the current flat fee, residents would be taxed according to property value.
Commissioner Mike Ritz sparred with the Mayor's office over whether or not that's fair.
"We're promising to give more. Provide more, but we're saying at the same time, up front, that it's gonna cost more. If the public says, 'well, we don't want more,' then we'll go back and go back to the old method. But, I have not heard anybody say, 'I want to go back to what we had,' says Wharton.
Wharton says people could write off the fire tax.
Next Monday, the Commission will vote on resolutions for both the ambulance service contract and the fire tax.
The ambulance contract is expected to pass easily next week.
The fire tax will take weeks to hash out.