MSBU districts to govern rates

Jay Abbott

Jay Abbott

Lois Swoboda
Published: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 at 01:46 PM.


Individual fire districts within the county may now set their own Municipal Service Benefit Units (MSBU) for fire prevention and mitigation.

On Jan. 15, the county commission held a public hearing to discuss setting MSBU rates for the seven fire districts. Currently, all property owners within the county must pay a fee beginning at $10 for undeveloped land, and increasing according to use. Single-family residences pay $50 annually.

Jay Abbott, president of the countywide firefighters’ association requested commissioners pass an ordinance creating seven independent fire districts with the same boundaries as existing fire service districts, and stipulating that each could request changes in MSBU based on need.

According to County Attorney Michael Shuler, the existing districts are Apalachicola with borders defined by the Apalachicola River and the western county line; Eastpoint from the eastern bank of the Apalachicola River to; Yent’s Bayou; St. George Island; Carrabelle with boundaries at Yent’s Bayou and Lake Morality Road; Lanark Village/St. James with boundaries at Lake Morality Road and State Route 319; and Alligator Point/St. Teresa from SR 319 to the eastern county line.

Abbott told commissioners the firefighters association discussed the ordinance at both their August and September meetings and twice voted unanimously to request independent status for the MSBU districts.

Abbott, chief of the St. George Island fire department, told commissioners St. George Island needs an increase because they must have two fire stations to cover the district due to ISO requirements, which is set by the International Organization for Standardization, the world’s largest developer of voluntary international standards for such things as fire protection.

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