State Supreme Court hearing appeal of West Florence Fire District

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The S.C. Supreme Court will hear an appeal Wednesday morning in Columbia by the West Florence Fire District in a lawsuit it lost against Florence County saying the fire district can not operate as its own, according to online state judicial court records.

South Carolina Circuit Court Judge J.C. Nicholson, Jr., issued a ruling back in July that the West Florence Fire District can't operate as a special purpose district.

The ruling followed a two-day bench trial last July at the Florence County Courthouse.

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

State House Bill H. 5225 was passed into law last May, thereby 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. It names the district and its five commissioners.

Commissioners with West Florence Fire District said they have the right to operate as a special purpose district, as 75 other special purpose fire districts exist in South Carolina.

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