ELBERTA, Ala. (WALA) - Elberta's Volunteer Fire Department is gearing up for a big event this month: their bi-annual sausage festival.
But they may have new fees to contend with. Mayor Marvin Williams said Monday if the city wants to pay for a new proposed skate park it may have to start charging the Fire Department $10,000 annual rent for the Sausage Festival which is held twice a year.
Williams said it's not something that's on the table yet, but it's a possibility.
"The town is just like every other town in this economy. We have to plan for the future and some things will change," Mayor Williams said.
The mayor has told the fire department to submit a monthly profit and loss statement, and a list showing how festival money is spent. He received the first statement this month.
"They're a great asset to this town, but like everyone else they must be budgeted, and they account for their money like me and everyone else," he said.
Some are worried about the future of the Sausage Festival if the Fire Department is forced to start paying rent for the park. Fire Chief Steve Kirkpatrick said he's not worried.
"I don't think so. As long as it's a reasonable amount I don't think it will be a problem," Kirkpatrick said.
The Fire Chief said he doesn't mind paying a fee to rent the park for the March 30 festival, but he says $10,000 would be too much.
"We're pretty strapped for funds. I don't know that we would be able to afford that much," he said.
There's another change coming for the Fire Department, which will likely have it start paying for the water it uses at the Sausage festival as well as the fire stations.
The mayor said that change will come from Riviera Utility which is taking over water service in Elberta.
"They will be billed at that time. We never billed them when we owned the system, but now that it's going to be shifted over to them, the water at the Fire Station, and the Sausage Booth," Williams said.
The fire chief said he plans to meet with Riviera Utilities to see if the fire stations can be exempt from the water fee.
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