Marianna- Jackson County officials commissioned consultants to perform a study in an attempt to find answers to several questions about the county's fire services. The first question dealt with the placement of fire stations.
"Our main station is now in the city of Marianna due to some annexations that they've done," Jackson County Administrator, Ted Lakey explained. "We also want to look at the station we have up in Campbellton- where's the best place to locate it? Right now, it's just in a temporary trailer."
Station location determined the answers to the next question commissioners sought answers to: how to improve the Insurance Service Office (ISO) ratings.The lower the rating the cheaper insurance rates run for business and home owners.
"If you look at building new stations, taking on ways to improve ISO ratings- well, how do you fund that," Lakey asked.
The study recommended instituting a county wide fire services tax to pay for the suggested improvements.
"There's equality in that- it catches all homeowners. Even though you might have a homestead exemption, you would be paying the assessment. And, on the other end, it also [taxes] businesses who are not paying assessments," he said.
Lakey told us the current fire budget was around $700,000. He guessed that if commissioners decided to institute the fire services tax, it would likely run anywhere between $59 to $109 a year.