ALBANY, GA (WALB) - After weeks of debate, Lee County leaders passed a balanced budget. Some commissioners feel safety is not balanced in the county.
Commissioners approved a new $20.7 million budget Tuesday night without a millage rate increase. To balance the budget, commissioners cut staffing for a new fire station they plan to build with sales tax revenue in the Smithville-Chokee District.
Commissioner Dennis Roland voted for the budget but with reservations. He says when people in his area have an emergency, it can take 25 minutes for help to arrive. Commissioner Ed Duffy says they'll use the upcoming fiscal year to make necessary changes.
"That's why I made a plea tonight to the board to start immediately building the Fire/EMS station because we have the money in SPLOST. We have the money for an ambulance and we have the money for an engine," said Duffy.
Duffy says in the meantime they'll try to find more than $200,000 for a quick response emergency vehicle they can staff with four paramedics to help the district immediately.
Commissioners approved a proposed millage rate that is the same as this year. They'll approve the official rate next month.
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