The Douglas County Board of Commissioners approved over $800,000 for improvements to the fire department during Tuesday’s virtual meeting.
New Fire Chief Roderick Jolivette said the money, which is coming from mostly SPLOST funds, will bring equipment, facilities and training up-to-date for his department.
By a 4-0 vote, the BOC approved the funds during a 30-minute meeting that had no public comments.
Commissioner Ann Jones Guider was not present at the meeting.
In all, the county approved a total of $878,172.29 for training, facility upgrades and equipment.
“It was very important that this got approved,” Jolivette said. “Getting this will make the community safer. We will move forward to make this department better.”
The BOC gave the authorization to accept a bid for $794,000 for the construction of a metal building at the Fire Department Training Complex, which was the big ticket item.
The county will utilize $676,000 from 2002 SPLOST funds and another $125,000 of 2016 SPLOST funds.
Jolivette said the building will be used to store equipment that is now left outdoors.
“Some of that equipment is taking a beating from the weather,” he said. “It will help reduce maintenance costs and in the long run save us money from replacing it. We will get more life out of the equipment.”
Authorization was given to make a $33,711.39 purchase of a SCBA Refill Station for the training complex.
The money will also come out of SPLOST funds.
The SCBA Refill Station is a stationary breathing air refill station that aids in the refiling of air bottles at the training center.
An air and light truck, that also responds to fires and other emergencies, is currently used for refilling air bottles.
The Fire Department will complete a project that was $31,026.90 coming from SPLOST funds that the BOC approved during its meeting for helmets and ballistic vests. The department had already purchased 25 sets in 2020.
Jolivette said he wants the department to continue to maintain a high ISO rating, which helps homeowners get low insurance rates.
He said the department currently has a 3-rating for ISO, which stands for Insurance Services Office.
“All these things helps with upgrading our training,” Jolivette said. “The county already upgraded the 911 systems. We want to keep the public protected.”