Firefighters urge support for Local Amendment

Published 7:28 pm Saturday, November 1, 2008

Fire officials of Chilton County’s rural volunteer fire departments want citizens to vote “Yes” on Local Amendment No. 1 Tuesday, which would redistribute the way tax money is allocated to departments.

This amendment will appear only on the ballots of residents who live outside the corporate limits of cities and towns. It will not appear on the ballot of anyone who resides within a municipality.

“It’s not a tax increase, and it’s not a new tax,” Chilton Fire/EMS Association president Dan Wright said.

The pivotal point in the issue is how much funding fire departments with substations receive. Currently, departments with substations get two full checks, the same amount of revenue for each station.

If passed, the amendment would reduce the amount received for substations, thereby freeing up more tax money for fire departments with only one station. Those departments with a substation would still receive 40 percent more funding than those with just one primary station.

“Substations do not need as much money to operate as a primary station,” Wright said.

“This has been agreed upon by all rural department chiefs and was the driving force in determining the distribution amount. The end result is that we are able to operate two stations with substantially more money than is available to operate one station, while allowing the departments with one station to effectively operate as well.”

Wright urges people to read the entire ballot when voting, because Local Amendment No. 1 is the very last item that appears.

“We’ve had what seems to be a positive response to it,” he said. “People are saying they’ve heard about it and they’re in support of it.”

More details on the amendment are available for viewing at

– Scott Mims can be reached at