Rural Fire District – Mission, Profile, and Issues
To provide responsive volunteer fire protection in thirteen (13) rural fire stations and sub-stations while assisting in various mutual aid agreements with other jurisdictions. This budget function will face increasing challenges as Bulloch County‘s population continues to grow. Meanwhile, the Board of Commissioners has made a long-term commitment to improve the service levels for rural fire protection as volunteer services requires financial support for equipment and technical support from qualified individuals. In FY 2010, the county was successful in lower insurance rating for many rural homeowners through an evaluation by the Insurance Services Organization (ISO) to determine community fire fighting capabilities for equipment, facilities and training. Bulloch County is now implementing some of these measures and will continue to invest in rural sub-stations, where five of eight have been installed. The County Commission assesses a fee on properties with viable residential and commercial structures that generate over $500,000 annually to improve rural fire services and lower insurance rates for these property owners.
Urban Fire District – Mission, Profile, and Issues
The Fire District originated in 1978 as an agreement between Bulloch County and the City of Statesboro, providing for the city to act as first responder for fire calls in a five-mile radius of Statesboro. This arrangement provides fire service response and lower fire hazard insurance rates for homeowners and businesses in this area.
However, these benefits are the result of additional resources funded through an additional millage rate on district property owners. The special district tax represents 35% of the cost of the City of Statesboro‘s Fire Department. A budget is submitted by the city annually to aid in determining the amount of the millage to be applied. The cost impact of the millage by property owners is offset by a reduction in fire hazard premiums due to a lower insurance rating for the level of service provided by the city. The millage rate for FY 2012 is proposed to remain at 1.8 mills.