Grand Bay Fire Rescue calling on residents to vote in favor of raising fire service fee

Chief Wade says they need funds to purchase adequate fire equipment.
Updated: Mar. 26, 2023 at 9:00 PM CDT
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - The Grand Bay Fire Rescue Department is calling on its residents for help.

They’re asking them to consider voting in favor of increasing the service fee that residents and businesses pay each year.

“The fire service fee is factored in every year into everybody’s property taxes. That is what you pay- a fee for us to come out and extinguish your house is you have a house fire, it’s also for EMS services or anything like that,” said Grand Bay Fire Chief David Wade.

Chief Wade wants to raise that charge to fifty dollars for residents and one hundred dollars for businesses to up the department’s equipment.

“You can’t really put a price on safety- you can’t put a price on a life or somebody’s property. What we are trying to do is get everybody to understand the cost has gone up for not just the fire gear- the fire trucks, the proper protective equipment that we have to wear- all of that stuff costs money and it’s not the same pricing it was when we first got 35 dollars enacted when we were established,” said Chief Wade.

Whether it’s a leaky truck or a worn-out helmet, Chief Wade says most of their gear is on its last leg.

“Our trucks our outdated,” he said. “They leak water, they cost money to maintain to stop that leak which is new valves. We need updated trucks.”

Grand Bay Fire Rescue Assistant Chief Jonathan Thornton says it’s more than just a fee- it’s a matter of safety.

“We’ve got to have that equipment to help better serve our community here. For people who don’t want us to have the fee increase, it’s going to affect them. If we can get that fee increase, it’ll help everybody out in the long run,” said Thornton.

On March 28, Grand Bay residents will have the opportunity to vote for or against the increase.

Chief Wade says as the department grows, so does its needs.

“We have come a long way since I’ve been here,” said Wade. “I am not taking all the credit myself, but for the volunteers below me that have really turned this place around. I want the community we serve to know that we are here for them.”

The vote will be held Tuesday, March 28 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.n. at the Friendship Baptist Church on Saeger Road in Grand Bay, Ala.

The election is open to registered voters living within the Grand Bay city limits.