In what could be considered a political “Hail Mary” pass, Brookfield resident Buddy Coarsey led a petition drive last week to stop the sale of the old Brookfield Fire Station. Whether that had its intended effect or not, the sale was stopped dead in its tracks on Monday night at the Tift County Board of Commissioners meeting.

Coarsey and a number of Brookfield residents wanted to keep the old fire station so that it could be used to house emergency medical technicians. The petition stated that the Brookfield residents wanted “the local ambulances and EMTs to have a permanent presence at or near Brookfield.”

The building had been declared surplus property and advertised for sealed bids after the new fire station was built. Chris Goodman offered the highest bid at $30,000, and the board decided at last week’s workshop meeting to accept Goodman’s bid. The issue had been moved to the Consent Agenda to be approved at the board’s regular meeting Monday night.

Monday morning, after gathering names on the petition all weekend, Coarsey and several other Brookfield residents met with Commission Chairman Grady Thompson.

Coarsey and Brookfield residents Maudie Carter, Sam Wilcox, Ronald Hand and Gene Mainor presented the petition with more than 300 signatures to Thompson and discussed the issue with him.

Carter told Thompson, “If just one life is saved that is worth more than $30,000.”

Coarsey said, “The county is putting EMTs in Omega now. We would like to see some put in Brookfield, Ty Ty and Chula. We’d like to have some firemen who are certified EMTs.”

The sale of the old fire station also includes the sale of the precinct voting building that adjoins it. According to Tift County tax records, the old fire station is valued at $65,393 and the voting building is valued at $22,363, bringing the total value of the property to $87,756. If the property is sold for $30,000, the county will realize only 34 percent of the stated value of the property.

At Monday night’s regular Tift County Board of Commissioners meeting, the sale of the old fire station to Chris Goodman, along with the sale of surplus property on Highway 41 South to Ross Construction, was the first item appearing on the Consent Agenda.

Commissioner Frankie Mathis made a motion to move the sale of the fire station off the Consent Agenda but leave the sale of the Highway 41 South property on the Consent Agenda. The motion was carried and the commissioners then voted to approve the sale of the Highway 41 South property.

The commissioners said they would go into closed session at the end of the meeting to discuss the sale of the old Brookfield Fire Station.

At approximately 9:30 p.m., the commissioners came out of the closed session and in the open meeting said that further action on the issue would be delayed until the December meeting.

Following the meeting, Coarsey was not optimistic. He said he thought there was some “good ol’ boy” politics at play and doubted the commissioners would seriously consider the wishes of the Brookfield residents.

To contact reporter Jana Cone, call 382-4321, ext. 208.

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