Informational Session - Fire Services Fee: May 9, 2022, from 6-7 PM

County officials will provide information about Fire Services and the Fire Services Fee. Officials will also hear comments and answer questions.

To register and make a comment or ask a question, visit: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_7MRHri4XTnSrXTbrpB-F2g
To watch (no comments or questions), visit: https://chathamcountyga.gov/OurCounty/Cgtv

For the past two years, Chatham County officials and Chatham Emergency Services representatives have been meeting to discuss how best to provide fire protection services in unincorporated Chatham County. These conversations became necessary due to non-payment of the annual fire subscription fee by property owners, resulting in funding challenges for the fire department.

To understand what level of services residents wanted from their fire department, Chatham County Commissioners held Town Hall meetings and launched a community survey. The responses told us that most citizens were satisfied with the level of services being provided and thought the costs were reasonable. However, the fire department's revenue matter remained since almost 1/3 of property owners were not paying the annual subscription fee.

The Board of Commissioners heard you. In December 2021, the Board approved a contract with Chatham Emergency Services to provide the necessary fire protection. What does this mean for you? If you live in unincorporated Chatham County and were previously billed by Chatham Emergency Services for a fire subscription fee, you will no longer receive a bill from them and instead be billed a Fire Services Fee by Chatham County to cover the cost of the $13 million contract.



The fee will be based on the square footage of your improved property, which includes all structures that could catch fire and burn and a flat fee for land. The square footage for each property will be obtained from the Chatham County Board of Assessors.



The math is simple. Here is an example of how the fee will be calculated based on the most common building square footage category. There is a flat fee of $100 for all land, plus the calculated fee for structure(s) on the property. Therefore, if you have a 1500 square foot home with a single car garage, which is approximately 250 square feet and a 10 x 20 storage area or shed that is 200 square feet, your total square foot for the structure is 1950. Based on your 1950 square foot structure(s), the fee is $175, plus a $100 fee for land, your total fire service fee would be $275.



This simplified chart will help you calculate your fee based on the square footage of the improved property and has the land fee included.



The Fire Service Fee bills will be mailed to property owners between July 1 and September 30, 2022.   For more information, please check out the FAQ section. If you do not find the answer to your question, you can email firefee@chathamcounty.org.





 

FAQ

 

  1. Why did the County decide to contract with Chatham Emergency Services for fire protection for residents in the unincorporated County?
    Non-payment of the annual fire subscription fee by approximately 1/3 of property owners in unincorporated Chatham County created a revenue challenge for Chatham Emergency Services.

  2. I currently receive fire services from another agency. Will I have to change to Chatham Emergency Services?
    No, this fee only applies to property owners who were previously billed by Chatham Emergency Services for a fire subscription fee.

  3. How is the Fire Services Fee going to calculated?
    The fee will be based on the square footage of your improved property, which includes all structures that could catch fire and burn, plus a flat fee for land.

  4. Where does the data for my square footage come from?
    The square footage for each property will be obtained from the Chatham County Board of Assessors.

  5. Is Chatham Emergency Services now a part of Chatham County Government?
    No, Chatham Emergency Services is still a non-profit organization. Chatham County has a contract with Chatham Emergency Services to provide fire protection to unincorporated Chatham County.

  6. When will I receive my bill?
    Bills will arrive through the mail any time between July 1 - September 30, 2022.

Still have a question?  Email your question to firefee@chathamcounty.org.

 

Want to know where the closest Fire Hydrant is?

 

www.chathames.org/hydrants