Chatham County Commission discusses fire protection service fees in virtual meeting

CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) – Millions of dollars could accrue to Chatham County emergency services pending a final vote on fire charges.

This only applies to owners in unincorporated Chatham County. This is the first time unincorporated residents of Chatham can comment on the proposed final plan.

Most of the Chatham County Commission’s 40-minute meeting was spent hearing the public into proposed fire charges for unincorporated residents of Chatham.

These discussions began when residents were not paying Chatham emergency service subscription fees, leaving Chatham EMS strapped for millions of dollars.

New contract fees with Chatham Emergency Services will be based on the square footage of your property, including anything that can catch fire.

County Executive Lee Smith said the county expects to recoup the budgeted $13.2 million from the fees and possibly an additional $1-200,000.

Sharon Maccagnano said: “If you had a third of households not paying their share now, everyone would be in compliance… I think that would reduce costs or at least stay the same?

Wage increases for firefighters, increases for worker compensation were over $900,000 in additional costs.

“Since this is a private service, have there been any offers to other companies willing to provide fire services?” asked Chris Hanks.

The problem was time. CES would not be able to make the payroll in 3 to 4 months with a deficit of 3 million dollars.

Glynda Jones asked, “Has anyone taken a look at what people are already paying and how will that affect households?”

You could have rolled it into the mileage but that would increase the mileage by 3 mills.

The other is considering making it a tax. The tax commissioner says it was her preference but she wouldn’t put a fee on the tax bill

So what happens if you don’t pay?

The assistant county attorney said they could file a lien to recover the charges. They also said that under a new order, the landlord can be taken to court, but if you end up paying, the case will be dropped.

  • It’s a five-year contract.
  • Following committee approval, no fees will be collected until July 1st.
  • The meeting is scheduled for 9:30 this Friday at the legislative building.
  • You can also send any questions you have to firefee@chathamcounty.org.

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About Charles D. Goolsby

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