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Judge to decide this week if West Florence Fire District can operate on its own

A bench trial is taking place this week at the Florence County Courthouse on a lawsuit to stop the creation of the West Florence Fire District and to keep it from operating as a special purpose district. (MGN graphic)

A bench trial is taking place this week at the Florence County Courthouse on a lawsuit to stop the creation of the West Florence Fire District and to stop it from operating as a special purpose district, according to Florence County court officials.

Florence County filed suit against West Florence Fire District in September of 2014 saying it's unconstitutional to operate as a special purpose fire district.

State House Bill H. 5225 was passed into law last May creating a separate fire district in West Florence and removing the community from Florence County's new consolidated fire district which merged six districts into one.

Council first filed a suit to stop the district in the S.C. Supreme Court, but the court ruled that it will not hear the matter.

The suit was then filed in 12th Circuit Court of Common Pleas and it names the district and its five commissioners.

Commissioners with West Florence Fire District said they will fight the lawsuit because there are 75 other special purpose fire districts in South Carolina.

Court records said the non-jury trial will last three and a half days.

We’ll let you know when the judge reaches a decision.

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