More fire districts consider protection fees following vote - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

More fire districts consider protection fees following vote

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Other Marshall County fire services are considering setting up protection fees. (Source: WAFF file) Other Marshall County fire services are considering setting up protection fees. (Source: WAFF file)
GRANT, AL (WAFF) -

 Big changes are coming to fire services in Marshall County. 

Voters in four out of five districts approved a fire protection fee during Tuesday's election. Now, more than 20 other potential districts in the county are considering following the same course of action.

Officials at Grant Volunteer Fire Department said they are cautiously optimistic after watching four other districts successfully pass a $5-per-month, per-household fire protection fee.

The fee collected out of property taxes will go to help fund operational expenses - something that is in dire need in Grant. 

The newest truck in that fire service is 20 years old. One truck leaks water; another is out of service because it leaks oil and needs a motor rebuilt. Firemen can no longer climb the ladder on the ladder truck because it's leaking hydraulic fluid.

With free labor, operational expenses have been a growing concern for Grant and other volunteer departments. They find Tuesday's vote encouraging abou setting up a fire district of their own.

"At this time, we're looking at it; we're considering it," said Grant Assistant Fire Chief Patrick Wilder. "We don't know how quick we're going to get it done, but we are going to go ahead and wind up doing the vote, and trying to get our community the chance to support and help us also."

Grant has worked to get a '6' rating from fire insurance officials. To bring it down even more for residents, they need equipment and training. One takes money; the other, time.

"The training budget is low right now. We spend most of our time doing stuff for fundraisers to try and keep the doors open and the vehicles running. If we could get more time to train, that would help a lot," said Wilder.

Douglas and Nixon Chapel Volunteer Fire Departments said they are also considering setting up districts.

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