May 21—MONETTA — The Monetta Community Volunteer Fire Department held a public meeting Friday morning to discuss a restructure in the way the department charges fire fees.
No residents attended the meeting. Fire Chief Nathan Shuler said the department is "not changing fire fees."
"We're just restructuring to (how) the county (wants) the template," Shuler said.
According to the 2021 Aiken County fiscal year budget, the fire department currently charges an annual $60 fire fee to residents whose homes have fair market value up to $29,999.99. For those who have homes with a value of $30,000 or more, the annual fee is $60 plus an additional $5 per $15,000 over $30,000.
Shuler said the county wants the department to go in increments of $40,000, instead of the current $15,000.
An ad placed in the Aiken Standard lists the new annual fee schedule by home value as follows: a $45 fee for a home value of $0 to $40,000; a $75 fee for a home value of $40,001 to $80,000; a $90 fee for a home value of $80,001 to $120,000; a $105 fee for a home value of $120,001 to $160,000; a $125 fee for a home value of $160,001 to $200,000; a $140 fee for a home value of $200,001 to $240,000; a $155 fee for a home value of $240,001 to $280,000; a $170 fee for a home value of $280,001 to $350,000; a $200 fee for a home value of $350,001 to $500,000; and a $250 fee for a home value of $500,001 or more.
The department currently charges fire fees to commercial land owners under the following fee schedule: a $150 fee for no hazards, a $200 fee for light hazards, a $400 fee for medium hazards and a $750 fee for large hazards.
The ad lists the new annual commercial fee schedule by the property value instead of hazards. The new schedule is as follows: a $100 fee for a property value of $0 to $100,000; a $150 fee for a property value of $100,001 to $250,000; a $250 fee for a property value of $250,001 to $500,000; a $500 fee for a property value of $500,001 to $1,000,000; and a $1,000 fee for a property value of $1,000,001 to $1,500,000.
The next step in the process is for the proposed change in the fire fee schedule to be submitted to Aiken County Council for incorporation into the budget. County Council can either approve or deny the change.
The Monetta Fire Department Headquarters is located at 15 Walden St. in Monetta.