SPRINGHILL – The bill pre-filed for this year’s legislative session to help raise funding for the Springhill Fire Department will be pulled when the session starts in April.
Rep. Gene Reynolds, District 36, said the issue had not been “vetted” with the mayor and the people of Springhill.
“It was not vetted with the locals, and the mayor and others asked me not to push the bill,” he said.
House Bill 151, if Reynolds had decided to move forward with it, would have tacked on an additional $4 to residents’ water bill for fire protection. Springhill residents pay $4 already for fire protection, along with their water, sewer and trash pickup.
Springhill Fire Chief Billy Rasberry wanted to use the extra funds to replace two fire trucks and replace equipment needed for the firemen. He also said he wanted to hire extra firefighters to have full-time coverage for the citizens of Springhill.
The fee has not been raised since the 1990s, and costs are rising, Rasberry said.
The proposed bill would have been per month, per household, and for inactive accounts, such as a residence that has been vacant for a year or more, the monthly service fee would have been tacked onto the property owner’s ad valorem taxes.
Rasberry said the additional fee could have brought in an additional $200,000 to $250,000 annually. The fire department brings in an annual revenue of about $350,000.