One primary concern on the minds of Pendleton residents and elected officials as the town expands is the state of public safety.
Several people expressed concern that as new homes and businesses move to Pendleton the fire department will need to transform from volunteer to a paid full-time professional department.
“It’s something that’s coming, and we need to prepare for it,” said resident Jack Radford.
Councilman Robert Jones said about 80% of fire departments nationwide are volunteer.
“If you’re less than 10,000 people, you’re going to be a volunteer department,” he said. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Pendleton’s population is about 4,300.
Councilman Shane Davis said the town already needs to invest in a new generator for the police department, which was left without power in the wake of Memorial Day tornado.
“I would like to look into getting one or two additional police officers,” he said to applause from the audience. “I know we’re coming up to budget, but somewhere, we need to find the money. It’s long overdue.”