Canton drops lawsuit over Amazon fire truck
The back and forth over who will control a new $1.4 million ladder truck protecting an Amazon facility near Canton narrowly avoided a court challenge when aldermen dropped their lawsuit.
“We had some of our members … file a lawsuit, but that has been rescinded this morning at 8 o’clock,” Canton Ward 2 Alderman Fred Esco told the Madison County Board of Supervisors at their Monday meeting.
Canton Mayor William Truly, Ward 5 Alderman Timothy Taylor and Esco visited the board, they said, as an act of good faith.
“That puts us in a better position to communicate,” Esco said. “Alderman Taylor and I … wanted to be able to communicate with the county and to show ourselves friendly and to show where we can cooperate and work together for the betterment of the city and the county. I think that is important.”
The lawsuit challenged the creation of a Megasite Fire District that has been created and abolished twice and then recreated again in recent months.
Supervisors said the Megasite Fire District will provide fire protection for the new Megasite Industrial Park that will house an Amazon distribution center and other industries.
Supervisors initially created a Central Madison County Fire district to cover a 5-mile radius around Canton that includes the Amazon Megasite and had planned to place within the new district a new $1.4 million ladder fire truck the county purchased this year, in part, with a $750,000 allocation from the Legislature.
Supervisors had said the Central fire district would be well equipped to handle fires within the Central Madison Fire District as well as within the city of Canton and the Megasite industrial park.
However, at an Aug. 2 meeting, District 3 Supervisor Gerald Steen made a motion to create a Megasite Fire District to cover the new Amazon distribution center and other buildings in the Megasite.
That motion also put the ladder truck within the Megasite Fire District taking it out of a newly created Central Fire District in Canton. That motion passed 3-1 with District 4 Supervisor and Board President Karl Banks absent.
In September, however, District 5 Supervisor Paul Griffin made a motion to abolish and rescind the Amazon Megasite district and to place the industrial site back into the Central Madison County Fire District.
That motion carried 3-2 with District 2 Supervisor Trey Baxter and Steen voting against it and District 1 Supervisor Shelia Jones voting with Banks and Griffin.
In October, the board again did an about-face on the fire district issue when Madison County supervisors reinstated with Jones made a motion to reinstate the Megasite Fire Protection District following what she described as a discussion she had with the state insurance commissioner.
Griffin and Steen told the Canton officials that the decision is now in the hands of the newly created Megasite fire commission.
“We should hear something from them as far as fire protection within the next couple two or three weeks or something of that nature,” Steen said. “I know they will hopefully be reaching out with y’all as well along with others about fire protection, so they will be meeting this week.”