Some homeowners will soon pay more after approval of Santa Rosa County fire rates

Some homeowners will soon pay more after approval of Santa Rosa County fire rates

Tuesday night Santa Rosa County commissioners approved a hike for fire rates in some areas of the county.

Officials said the hike is necessary to keep up with growing costs and replace outdated equipment.

"It's still now keeping up with the demand on our fire service," said Santa Rosa County Emergency Management Director Brad Baker. "Our call volumes have increased I think around 37-percent. Obviously the cost of equipment is going up, just like everything else in our economy."

Nine districts in the North area of the county will be affected, including areas like Pace, Jay and Bagdad.

Communities including Midway, Holley-Navarre and Gulf Breeze are not included in the increase.

Residents will see their rates jump from $85 to $103 a year for homes up to 2,700 square feet.

For homes larger than this, rates will hike to $155 a year.

"It's not just money being thrown away. We have some very good fire departments and they're just wanting to continue on and provide a high level of service for the community," said Baker.

Rates in Navarre Beach will jump from $360 a year to $500.

Fire Chief Danny Fureigh said his station needs renovations and a new fire truck.

"Right now we don't have those," said Chief Fureigh. "We've been kinda nickeling and diming it for so many years that we're at a critical point right now. Now we're playing catch up."

However, not everyone is a fan of the hike.

"I don't mind increases, but doubling your fire tax is a bitch much," said Pace resident Devon Baker. "There's a lot of us on fixed incomes, low income."

Officials hope the upgrades will help improve fire district ratings.

That in turn, could mean lower insurance premiums for homeowners.

The rate increases will go into effect this October.

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