COLUMBIA COUNTY, GA (WFXG) - The fire department in Columbia County is already thinking about the many ways the increase in its millage rate can help their performance.
Last week the decision was made to roll back the millage rate in Columbia County. For practical purposes, residents will not see a difference in the amount they're paying in taxes. That's because the millage rate for the fire department is going up by the same amount.
More people and better equipment are two goals that the fire department are looking to accomplish with the increase. Right now the fire department could use some extra bodies. In order to cover different areas of the county with ease. Chief Wallen says they are aiming to have three workers on every fire truck that is sent out. "We are going to strategically place those through out the county in order to increase the number of on scene personnel when we have your larger events like structural fires or longer term rescues or searches."
Along with hiring more staff is making sure the department maintains their equipment and ISO rating. Right now Columbia County Fire Department has an outstanding score. They want to be able to keep it that way. "The ISO rating is largely meant for to look at the community's ability to suppress structural fires and for that, you need equipment which we have and you need a lot of people.", explains Wallen. The Chief also says it is important that the fire department constantly evolves with the growth of the county And this increase in millage rate will help them do that. "As the community grows we have to grow as well it is just not enough and this community is growing. What we are trying to do is stay -- at worst case -- in line with the growth but you want to be a step ahead."
The department is currently looking at the trends in growth and is being very strategic about where they will place more fireman when they are hired.