Walton County Fire Rescue looking to raise fire fees

Published: Friday, July 5, 2013 at 12:10 PM.

Instead, the BOC is looking to raise the rate to $95 and to start charging owners of vacant land. Currently, vacant land is not charged.

Executive Director of WCTA, Robert Hudson, is in favor of  the fee hike.

"We believe everyone should have fire protection, but if you're going to have it you should have to pay for it," he said.

Hudson notes that it costs approximately $7.3 million to fund fire protection in Walton County each year, $3 million of which is used for Emergency Medical Services. The funding costs have risen over the years, but the fees have stayed the same.

If the Walton County Fire Rescue is not fully funded through MSBU fees, it could be taking funding away from other county projects.

"You have to pay for it regardless," Svehla said. "Using ad valorem taxes [to pay fire fees] takes away funding from the purposes they were collected for, like paving roads."

When those ad valorum taxes are called upon, 93 percent comes from South Walton, Hudson said. The association is comprised of North and South Walton residents who are all in favor of a self-sufficient Walton County Fire Rescue, Hudson said.

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