PICKENS – By July of next year, the City of Pickens will no longer provide fire protection for two county districts and will impose a city-wide fire fee to maintain its own fire department.
“On Dec. 31, 2013, the city’s contract with the Shady Grove Fire District will end, and on July 1, 2014, the city’s contract with the Rural Fire District will end,” said City Administrator Katherine Brackett. “To keep a small city fire department, it will cost us approximately $250,000 in an operating budget.”
The city receives $500,000 in fire fees from the two county districts but will lose that money once both contracts have ended.
“We are not able to make up the full $500,000, but we don’t need to,” Brackett said. “We are going from 90 square miles of fire protection to three square miles of fire protection in the city. We received $500,000 from the county districts in fire fees, but it cost us $500,000 to operate them.”
According to Brackett, the city is taking steps to make up for the lack of revenue in fire fees.
“We are eliminating one of the fire department’s positions and will go from a four man staff to a three man staff,” Brackett said. “Council will also vote on contracting the city’s commercial sanitation with the Greater Greenville Sanitation on April 15 which will save $60,000.”
Residents and business owners inside the city will also be asked to pay an annual fire fee.
“We will impose a residential and commercial fire fee that did not exist before,” Brackett said. “In paying these fees, the residents and business owners of the city will keep their own fire department.
Brackett said that the imposed fees will be the same as they are in the Pickens Rural Fire District.