Can Hub City emergency services handle the proposed annex? - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Can Hub City emergency services handle the proposed annex?

The city of Hattiesburg is planning to expand its city limits into Lamar and Forrest Counties, along U.S. 98 and along portions of Highway 49./Photo credit: WDAM The city of Hattiesburg is planning to expand its city limits into Lamar and Forrest Counties, along U.S. 98 and along portions of Highway 49./Photo credit: WDAM
HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) -

The city of Hattiesburg is planning to expand its city limits into Lamar and Forrest Counties, which is along U.S. 98 and along portions of Highway 49.

Hattiesburg fire station 8 houses a few fire trucks and the current sub-station for the Hattiesburg Police Department.

That station sits roughly five miles from Mississippi Highway 589, which the city is looking to annex past that point.

“They going to have to spend money on two new fire stations, on about 24 new firefighters and probably two to four new fire trucks,” Hattiesburg Fire Chief Paul Presley said. 

The Hub City currently has eight fire stations, but for a city of its size, it should have 10, according to Presley.

“We do need a fire station as it speaks today up Highway 49 in that area, we are a little short, also we need something out 98 as well,” Hattiesburg City Council President Kim Bradley said. “To build a building and put an apparatus in there, you are talking, a million and a half to two million dollars.”

The fire department is operating with roughly 90 firefighters and is slotted for 120.

The police department is operating with 96 officers and is slotted for 126 at last report from HPD Lt. Jon Traxler.

During a Friday awards ceremony for the Hattiesburg Police Department, chief Anthony Parker thanked his officers for their hard work, mentioning the numbers of staffing and how he will get the numbers up.

“We are doing so much with a lot less right now, it’s all because of you (the officers),” Parker said. 

“Currently we are at a 4 rating, what will happen is the rating bureau will come down, we will see how long it takes us to get from Point A to Point B,” Presley said.  “If we got a new annexed area, the rating will probably fall to a 5 or a 6.”

Presley said another thing that will affect that rating is traffic out west and water issues.

“It’s hard enough now for the stations out there now, we are having a lot of problems making calls because of the amount of traffic,” Presley said. 

Bradley said, “When you are sitting there and you are doing your feasibility study and you are talking about the revenue that you are going to receive, then you are talking about the expenditures that you are going to have to make to provide the services, I think it’s 7 to 10 years, depending on how our language is when we go to chancery court, and request annexed areas. We will provide infrastructure within 10 years and we will begin immediately working to provide obviously police and fire safety.”

According to Bradley, the city plans to present the annexation plans to the chancery court to move forward on expanding in the next few weeks.

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