Confusion over the new voluntary fire department fee has the Fiscal Court and Sheriff’s Office looking for ways to smooth out the process next year.
Grayson County Judge Executive Gary Logsdon said during the Nov. 20 Fiscal Court meeting, “There have been a lot of complaints about the fee. Next year, we need to try to make it clearer.”
The fee of $40 per property was added to countywide property tax bills beginning this year as a way to increase funding for struggling local fire departments.
The fee – which property owners could opt out of by filling out a form at the Sheriff’ office – is an annual membership cost. Anyone who chooses to pay the membership fee will not be charged the much larger fees associated with fire or medical assists from area fire departments should such assistance be needed.
“Our objective was not to put a burden on our taxpayers,” said County Magistrate Harold Johnson. “It’s about saving lives. Fire departments have updates on equipment that are needed just like the Sheriff’s Office or Detention Center. This fee can train first responders.”
Logsdon said, “There’s some tweaking that needs to be done” to avoid some of the confusion for the next billing season.
Sheriff Norman Chaffins, whose office handles collection of the fees, was in full agreement.
In other Fiscal Court News:
– The Grayson County Fiscal Court and Grayson County Detention Center will be joining together to make a $2,000 donation toward the American Legion Post 81 Veteran’s Memorial Park, which is currently under construction.
Magistrate Harold Johnson made the motion to approve the donation, $1,000 of which will be given by each of the two agencies.
Johnson explained that the donation would not cover the addition of any individual names on the monument, but would be given in honor of “every vet who ever served from Grayson County, who we are very, very proud of.”
– Steve Alvey’s retirement as Flood and Building Permit Coordinator was announced. Chris Johnson will be taking over the position.
– Jailer Jason Woosley announced the receipt of a $30,000 radio grant which the jail received through the Department of Homeland Security.
The funds will go toward the purchase of 23 radios and microphones for the detention center and two each for area fire departments.
– Extension Board representative Kindra Jones announced that Darren Bell, Eric St. Clair and Jo Escue had been named to the board.
Reach Brittany Wise
at 270-259-9622 ext. 2014.