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NEWBERRY – The City of Newberry is taking a closer look at its fire department and its future anticipated costs. The City conducted a workshop Feb. 11 to provide information about the future of the fire department and costs projected out as far as 10 years.

People attending the workshop were provided information packets with past data, 10-year projections and County versus City operation cost comparisons. The meeting was held to gauge residents’ views about taking on additional costs in the future for department upkeep. A critical point made was that future operational costs of the fire department could mean having to increase fees or millage rates.

The fire service fee per residence is currently $100, but the City’s ordinance allows the City Commission to raise the fee to $124 without having to conduct a study and analysis.

Small town fire departments can do what other departments can’t,” City Manager Keith Ashby said. “The fire fighters will come over and take your pulse and vitals. I had it happen personally with my dad, and his life was saved because of that. “

Ashby’s upshot of the meeting is that the community appreciates its department and does not wish to change how it operates.

But Ashby cautioned, “If you love our fire department, and it could cost us a million in the next 10 years, this could potentially increase your millage rate.”

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