LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. - For decades, the City of Decatur has been providing emergency services to unincorporated areas of Limestone County near the city's limits, but that is going to change starting next month.
Recently, the city's fire chief made Mayor Bowling aware this was happening. Bowling says the city does not have the authority to do this since they don't pay city taxes.
"It's not something new, It's been going on for years. Whenever we learned of it then, we had to do the responsible thing and make this change," Bowling said.
Bowling says he doesn't know how much money the city has spent providing those emergency services or exactly how the fire chief discovered this. He says when people in these unincorporated areas dial 911, dispatchers in Morgan County answer the phone. Beginning February 1, dispatchers in Limestone County will be picking up.
Bowling says the city is working to provide notice to people who will be affected by this. Calhoun Community College is in the city's limits, but the Robotics Center right next to it is not.
What other areas are not inside the city limits? "You go on Highway 20, like you're going toward Huntsville, portions of that area are not in the City of Decatur, for example, Calvary Assembly Church," he said.
An RV lot on Highway 20 called Rocket City RV is also not part of the city and currently eligible to receive city emergency services.
Bowling says this change doesn't mean people outside the city limit won't have access to emergency services, it just means that those services won't come from Decatur.
Bowling acknowledges that businesses owners and homeowners in these unincorporated areas may now have higher insurance costs since their emergency services are located farther away. He says anyone affected by this decision can apply to be annexed into the city so they can receive those services.