Because the county funded rural fire protection
through the General Fund, the property taxes of all county citizens, living
both inside and outside Cookeville city limits, helped to fund this fire
protection. Consequently, citizens living within the City of Cookeville
paid for fire protection service already provided by the
Tennessee statutes provide that if a city offers fire protection service, the county can offer this service outside the city limits in one of three ways. The county can appropriate funds to volunteer fire departments outside the city limits, or the county can establish fire tax districts and levy an annual fire tax on property owners in each district to fund the total budget for the rural fire departments. Another way for a county to offer fire protection is to enter into an interlocal agreement with a municipality to provide this service to areas outside the municipality.
Putnam County should provide rural fire protection in a method that complies with state statutes.