Vote passes to increase yearly fire fees in Grand Bay

Fire Chief David Wade says this will help the department afford updated equipment to keep folks safe
Updated: Mar. 29, 2023 at 5:30 PM CDT
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GRAND BAY, Ala. (WALA) - On Tuesday, the vote passed to increase the yearly fire fee in Grand Bay, with 201 voting in favor of the increase while 100 voted against it.

Grand Bay Fire-Rescue says the extra funds will be used to update their worn-out fire equipment.

“The biggest topic was we needed updated trucks, updated equipment, updated safety gear--we’re a growing department, and in order to be able to do that, we’ve got to have the funding there. It’s a big sigh of relief knowing we’ve got that know- I was thrilled when we got those results last night,” said Chief of Grand Bay Fire Rescue David Wade.

Wade says the vote is a historical milestone after the proposition to increase the fire fee was voted down two years ago.

The yearly charge, included in property taxes, will be raised from $35 to $50 for residents. Businesses will pay a fee of $100.

“All of this will be updated for the next year- so we’re still a year away from receiving that additional funding which is perfectly fine because that gives us enough time to budget it in,” explained Wade.

Tuesday’s rainy day didn’t stop folks from showing up to vote at the Friendship Baptist Church on Saeger Road in Grand Bay.

“By the end of the day, 302 voters came to the polls. Three hundred and two community members is really good for something that was brought up to be done,” he said. “It shows that we have that many people getting out to vote for their concerns.”

Wade says even if you voted against the increase, he takes your feedback seriously.

“If they’ve got concerns, you know, if it’s something the department is doing as far as the volunteers go, or something that they are concerned with or have suggestions, opinions-- I am all for listening to it,” added Wade.

Kimon Brown was one of many long-time Grand Bay residents at the polls on Tuesday.

“I feel very confident in the direction that the volunteer fire department is going. They need our support. It is obscene that our fire fee is only $35. It’s an incredibly low amount of me. Our volunteers are struggling. The equipment needs are imperative that we fulfill them. I’ve voted for the increase every time.”

Meanwhile, Wade is making a promise to the Grand Bay community to spend the funds wisely.

“I want Grand Bay to know that the Board has to be held accountable for their actions- however, I feel the same way for the fire department. I still feel like that responsibility needs to be put on my shoulders. I want the public to be involved with what is going on,” he said.

Aside from the fee increase, Angie Goudreaux won Place 1 on the Grand Bay Fire District Board of Trustees over Monnie Tripp. Goudreaux pulled through with 150 votes, while Tripp earned 137 votes.

James Jarrell won Place 2 with 135 votes over Omer Oglesby who accrued 123 votes.