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For the past two years, Chatham County officials and Chatham Emergency Services representatives have been meeting to discuss how best to provide fire protection services in unincorporated Chatham County. These conversations became necessary due to non-payment of the annual fire subscription fee by property owners, resulting in funding challenges for the fire department.
To understand what level of services residents wanted from their fire department, Chatham County Commissioners held Town Hall meetings and launched a community survey. The responses told us that most citizens were satisfied with the level of services being provided and thought the costs were reasonable. However, the fire department's revenue matter remained since almost 1/3 of property owners were not paying the annual subscription fee.
The Board of Commissioners heard you. In December 2021, the Board approved a contract with Chatham Emergency Services to provide the necessary fire protection. What does this mean for you? If you live in unincorporated Chatham County and were previously billed by Chatham Emergency Services for a fire subscription fee, you will no longer receive a bill from them and instead be billed a Fire Service Fee by Chatham County to cover the cost of the $13 million contract.
Chatham County Commissioners held Town Hall meetings and launched a community survey.
The Board approved a contract with Chatham Emergency Services to provide the necessary fire protection.
The fee will be based on the square footage of your improved property, which includes all structures that could catch fire and burn and a flat fee for land. The square footage for each property will be obtained from the Chatham County Board of Assessors.
The math is simple. Here is an example of how the fee will be calculated based on the most common building square footage category. There is a flat fee of $100 for all land, plus the calculated fee for structure(s) on the property. Therefore, if you have a 1500 square foot home with a single car garage, which is approximately 250 square feet and a 10 x 20 storage area or shed that is 200 square feet, your total square foot for the structure is 1950. Based on your 1950 square foot structure(s), the fee is $125, plus a $100 fee for land, your total fire service fee would be $225.
Fire Service Fee bills will not be mailed prior to October 2022. For more information, please check out the FAQ section. If you do not find the answer to your question, you can use the Contact Us Form.
Non-payment of the annual fire subscription fee by approximately 1/3 of property owners in unincorporated Chatham County created a revenue challenge for Chatham Emergency Services.
No, this fee only applies to property owners who were previously billed by Chatham Emergency Services for a fire subscription fee.
The fee will be based on the square footage of your improved property, which includes all structures that could catch fire and burn, plus a flat fee for land.
No, Chatham Emergency Services is still a non-profit organization. Chatham County has a contract with Chatham Emergency Services to provide fire protection to unincorporated Chatham County.
Bills will not be mailed prior to October 2022.
The Fire Service Fee bill will be mailed to the same address that you receive your tax bill. Need to change the address of where your fire fee is mailed? Visit: https://www.chathamtax.org and click “E-file.”
Chatham County will send the fire fee invoice to the property owner on file with the Board of Assessors. Unfortunately, this information is not “real time” so the County may not have information on any change in ownership.
For properties in the fire district that are sold after June 30, 2022, the County suggests the following process:
At this time there are no Administrative Appeals being heard. The appeal process will begin after the bills are mailed. Look for you bill to arrive between October 1 and October 31 of 2022.
Chapter 21: Health, Safety, and Sanitation, Article XII – Fire Protection Service Fee
Here you may search for your property by name, parcel number, or address.
After reviewing your invoice, if you feel you need a correction of your square footage, you can appeal with the Board of Assessors. FAQ for Board of Assessors: https://boa.chathamcountyga.gov/Valuation/FAQ
The list of structures billed in addition to your home is located at: County Code Book Page 93
Chapter 21: Health, Safety, and Sanitation, Article XII – Fire Protection Service Fee.
§21-1213 List of Ancillary structures billed in addition to the main structures
If you do not find the answer to your question, you can use the Contact Us Form.
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Use the link below to look up a fee by parcel (pin) or address
Please do not use this for emergency or time critical communications.