So that residents in the city won’t be double-taxed, the city of Canton is asking the Board of Supervisors to shrink the the South Madison Fire District around Gluckstadt.

The area, which is right off the I-55 near Germantown High School, runs from Church Road in the south to Sowell Road in the north, is mostly undeveloped but does include a convenience store, the new John Deere dealership and a new apartment complex under construction.

Because the South Madison Fire District is reliant on ad valorem taxes for funding, it is hoping to retain its rights over the coverage area for revenue purposes. 

To date, the only business contributing tax dollars to the district is a convenience store at the corner of Church Road and Calhoun Parkway.

While the tax revenue from that business is small, the additional taxes from the John Deere and the new apartment complex would produce significantly more revenue for the fire district in the coming years.

Eddie Price, chairman of the board of commissioners for the South Madison Fire District, which represents itself as the Gluckstadt Fire Department, appeared before the Board of Supervisors on Monday during the concerned citizen portion of the meeting with the district’s lawyer, John Scanlon, to ask the board to vote against the de-annexation.

“Our concerns are multifaceted,” Scanlon told the supervisors. “The area has been served by this fire district since 1988, and when Canton annexed this area in 2008, there was an agreement in place that the area would primarily be served by the South Madison Fire District, with Canton’s municipal fire district serving as a supplementary service.”

To that end, Scanlon provided supervisors with testimony from former Canton Mayor Fred Esco, Jr. from the time of the annexation where he agreed to those terms.

The city of Ridgeland had a similar issue two years ago when it annexed everything south of North Livingston Drive and everything west of Livingston Drive. At that time, that area was served by the Southwest Madison County Fire District.

“I’ve got to be impartial in these kinds of disputes,” County Fire Coordinator Minor Norman said. “I understand the concerns of the South Madison Fire District, but Canton isn’t doing anything that the city of Madison or the city of Ridgeland wouldn’t do. The double-taxation is a real issue.”

Until recently, all decisions over the districts were left to the fire commission board, which granted Ridgeland’s request. Since that time, the state Legislature voted to give that authority to the Board of Supervisors, which is why they are receiving the request now.

After about 15 minutes of back-and-forth between representatives of the fire district and Canton Mayor William Truly, who had come to the supervisors’ meeting for an unrelated matter, District 5 Supervisor Paul Griffin suggested a hearing be set at a later date before the board took a vote.

“This is the concerned citizens portion of our meeting,” Griffin said. “This is not the time to be getting into all this right now.”

While supervisors expressed their hopes that the two entities would work out the issue amongst themselves, they pledged to set a hearing date at a later meeting before they ultimately took a vote to settle the matter. 

The date for such a hearing has not been set.