By Aila Boyd
The Botetourt County Board of Supervisors voted last month to approve a new agreement with Roanoke County for the continued operations of the Read Mountain Fire Station as a Botetourt County-owned and -operated facility. The Roanoke County Board of Supervisors also approved the agreement last Tuesday.
The agreement will take effect on July 1 and will be valid through June 30, 2025. From there, the agreement will automatically renew for additional terms of one year unless either locality gives at least 12 months’ prior written notice of termination.
The fire station is located at 43 Eastpark Drive.
The agreement states, “The parties have determined that a mutual aid agreement to provide fire and emergency medical response and related rescue services across jurisdictional lines will improve such services in both jurisdictions.”
It also states that both jurisdictions must maintain current staffing levels of its career (non-volunteer) fire and rescue personnel who serve at the station. Additionally, all qualified and eligible volunteer fire and rescue personnel who were part of the Roanoke County system will be removed from that county’s system and adopted by the Botetourt system.
Under the agreement, Botetourt County will provide 24/7 fire response as resources are available from the Read Mountain Fire Station to the Read Mountain area of Roanoke County and Roanoke County will provide 24/7 fire response as resources are available to areas of Masons Cove and Catawba that border Roanoke County.
The agreement states that Roanoke County agrees to apply annually for aid from the Virginia Department of Fire Programs, which will allow it to contribute $20,000 of support in the form of grant eligible equipment to support Botetourt County’s operation of the station. Should aid not be available through the program, the agreement says that Roanoke County agrees to provide support with local funding sources.
If Botetourt County eventually decides to cease fire and rescue services out of the Read Mountain Fire Station, Roanoke County will have a right of first refusal to purchase the property at its current tax assessed value.
The need for the new agreement was the result of the expiration of a 30-year agreement between the two localities on May 11.