Smyrna Rescue Squad raises questions about sale of city property - WSMV Channel 4

Smyrna Rescue Squad raises questions about sale of city property

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The Smyrna Fire and Rescue Squad's property appraised for $585,000 in 2011. (WSMV) The Smyrna Fire and Rescue Squad's property appraised for $585,000 in 2011. (WSMV)
SMYRNA, TN (WSMV) -

The Smyrna Fire and Rescue Squad has been around for more than 50 years. In the 1960s, they served as the city's fire, ambulance and streets department.

These days they volunteer and go where needed, including New York after Sept. 11 and Nashville during the flood of 2010.

"We were down there a full week helping out down there," said Terry Smith, the chief of the Smyrna Fire and Rescue Squad.

Smith said for decades the squad leased the land at 205 Front Street from the city for a dollar a year, but not anymore. In 2008, without warning, he said the city sold the land to the Smyrna Church of Christ.

Now it's 2017. The squad's lease is up and Smith said they have nowhere to go.

"I think what gets me the most is as long as we were with the city we never got notified. We never were given the option whether we wanted to buy the property or not. They just went right on away," Smith said.

The property appraised for $585,000 in 2011.

Three years earlier when the city sold it, Smith said it was worth at least $400,000, and yet the city sold it for $187,000. He wants to know why.

"That's a big loss. That's a lot of money that could have gone right back into the city's fund," Smith said.

City manager Harry Gill wasn't in charge at the time, but he's adamant that the squad’s claims aren't true.

"The town of Smyrna is known for being a good steward of citizens’ tax dollars. We have a very low tax rate. We've been very judicious on how we spend money. So again, I don't know exactly what the appraisal was back then, I was in a different position, and again I can't fathom that the city would settle for less than the appraisal," Gill said.

Meanwhile, Smith, who's now searching for a new home for his squad, is determined to expose what he calls a bad deal.

"You know when they sold the property out from under us for that price, that's just pure ridiculous," he said.

Channel 4 reached out to the Smyrna Church of Christ to shed light on this deal and how it went down, but had not heard back by deadline on Tuesday.

The Smyrna Fire and Rescue Squad said despite not having a building, they are still available to help. They can be reached at 615-879-5772.

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