Lee County gets to keep volunteer fire departments - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Lee County gets to keep volunteer fire departments


Voters in districts throughout Lee County voted to increase the fire services protection fee Tuesday from $25 to $50.

Local volunteer firefighters as well as residents were happy with the results.

"I was in the bed and she said Whit get up the house is on fire," said Salem resident Whitfield Woodall describing the night a fire destroyed his home.

He says without volunteer firefighters from Salem, Smiths Station, and Beauregard, damage to his Salem home would have been much worse.

"I don't even want to think about it. No telling. We'd been in the shelter more or less," said Woodall.

Woodall says he can rest easy at night now that the people of Salem and the rest of Lee County have voted to increase the yearly fire protection services fee from $25 to $50.

Deputy Chief Mark Stillwell with the Salem Volunteer Fire Department say the approval will allow their department to widen their protection area. 

"Increasing the fire fee will allow us this year to purchase newer equipment and allow us to put station two into full operation."    

Stillwell says the approved increase will also keep some volunteer fire departments from closing their doors.    

"It lets me know that the people of the county do care about their protective services and that they are showing a proactive interest in the health of Lee County," said Stillwell.

Woodall says he is thankful the departments he depends on will not be going anywhere.

"Without the fire department, we'd be lost. It's not a significant fee and it is protection for everyone."

The fee of $50 will go into effect on October 1 for all districts in Lee County.

There is not an opt out option for people who do not wish to pay the fee.

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