City Commissioners Agrees on Fire Assessment

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MARIANNA Some Marianna residents will soon have to pay a new utility fee. City commissioners approved a fire assessment to help fund fire services. Residents have mixed feeling about the new fee.

Residents living in the City of Marianna will have to fork over more money on their utility bills.

During Tuesday night's board meeting, Commissioners approved a fire assessment of $4 per month.

"I’m not really for an increase because people are on a fixed income and the utility bills are already high enough,” said Elizabeth Goodwin. “I’m not against them having it; it’s just harder on the people that have to pay for it."

Funds from the assessment will go toward fire equipment upgrades and other department expenses.

"I really feel good about it because we need it you know,” said jack Hollis. “and, if your gonna have something you have to pay for it."

Though Hollis is for the fire assessment fee, he says another group of people should have one as well.

"If there gonna do that for the fire department, I really believe they need to take a good long look at the police department as well. When they have to go occasionally, but the police are right there around the clock," he explained.

This assessment will bring in an extra $200,000 this year for the fire department. It doesn't end there, the city will raise the fee each year until it reaches $10 a month in 2017.

Hollis says the fee is necessary.

"All you gotta do is have an emergency, and need them and all of a sudden it's worth it."

Residents can expect to see the charge starting with their November bills.

County officials hope the fire safety improvements will also improve the city's property insurance rates.