Smiths Station VFD puts fire protection fees to use - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Smiths Station VFD puts fire protection fees to use

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SMITHS STATION, AL (WTVM) -

Recently, residents of Lee County, Alabama voted to increase their annual fee for fire protection from $25 to $50.  On Thursday, residents saw for the first time where that extra money is being spent.

The vote passed in May with an 89% majority to give more funding to the fire department.

With the added money, Smiths Station was able to afford payments on three new fire trucks, including an aerial ladder truck.

Daniel Sexton, Smiths Station Captain, said that prior to the purchase, firefighters would have had great difficulty rescuing fire victims from buildings with three or more stories.

"The citizens were kind enough to increase the fire fee and extend it this year and one of the things that it allowed us to do was replace some of the really old equipment we had in our fleet."

Sexton said some of their old fire trucks had outlasted their intended life span by more than ten years.

The total cost of the new equipment is $1.57 million and it will be paid off at a rate that will take approximately one third of the Lee County fire fund each year. 

Mayor of Smiths Station, LaFaye Dellinger said the increase was largely needed to offset inflation.  The original figure has been unchanged for years.  Dellinger added that while the increase appears to be an extra tax burden in the short term, residents will benefit in the long term from lower homeowner's insurance rates that are given to regions serviced by well supplied fire departments.

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