An East Tennessee town is doing without its own police force - fire department - parks and libraries today. At one minute past midnight last night, the town of Niota lost its liability insurance. Today, Niota let several city employees go, closed its city police, fire, parks and street departments as well as the library with no word on when they might reopen again.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports the McMinn County fire department will take over the Niota fire department and garbage and sewer operations have been contracted out.
This is the second time in three weeks that the city has lost liability insurance. The Tennessee Municipal League first dropped the insurance in April, saying harassment claims against two city commissioners presented too much of a risk to continue providing the insurance. The small McMinn County town negotiated a 60-day reprieve on assurances that the liability problems the town had would be fixed. This time, Niota city officials say they have opened an internal investigation that will examine all five city commissioners.