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HAVANA FIRE CONTRACT EXPIRING: Leaders are working with the county to finalize fire contract

Gadsden County extended the fire contract that ran from September 30, 2022 to October 1, 2023 by 180 days back in October 2023.
Posted at 9:47 PM, Mar 26, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-26 21:47:21-04
  • Havana's and other municipalities fire contracts expire Thursday, March 28th
  • Havana is asking the county to increase their fire budget
  • Watch the video to hear neighbors concerns.


Havana's fire contract with Gadsden County expires on Thursday and leaders are still negotiating!

I spoke to one neighbor about his concerns on fire safety. He says safety is his top priority. I’m looking at that fire service contract and what it means for neighbors in unincorporated areas in the county and neighbors in Havana town limits.

"So, my neighbor’s house burned about a year or so ago."

Something tragic that Nathan Sumner hopes will not happen again.

"If we had more money to pay for stuff like that, then this house probably wouldn’t have burned to the ground."

With a fire service contract still on the negotiation table, Nathan, has concerns and questions.

“I think a lot of residents don't exactly understand all the details of it."

The county has a contract with Havana for the town to provide coverage to neighbors like Nathan in unincorporated areas in the county.

"They do that contractually with the county and the county gives each city or town in this case the funding to help us operate and cover the operating expenses dealing with fire service."

Havana's town manager Kendrah Wilkerson says them, and the county are negotiating their annual budget.

Havana's fire budget right now is a little over $89,000. The county is willing to pay $55,000 which is 55% of the total budget. The difference would be the taxpayers who live withing Havana’s city limits, responsibility.

"Havana is not wealthy by any stretch. This is an economically disadvantaged community. So, we try to be good stewards of the money we have but we just don't have enough to cover fire service in Havana and out in the county without some additional help from the county resource.

Back in October 2023, the county extended the fire contract that ran from September 30, 2022 to October 1, 2023 by 180 days. That 180 days are up Thursday.

"Being out here in the country if something happens, you're basically screwed without help from the county or the city."

I've reached out to the county to get a response about contract negotiations and have not heard back.

Havana's town manager Kendrah Wilkerson says they're asking the county to increase their base contract. She also wants the county to provide up to a $25,000 stipend per fire fighter.

“The funding to do this fire service has not gone up. So, we are asking for what feels like is a fair increase to cover the counties portion of what this service costs."

A contract that Havana leaders hope to come with an agreement with the county because safety for both their firemen and neighbors like Nathan is their top priority.

"It's important that they have what they need.”

If you have any questions or concerns about what is going on, the town will be holding an informational meeting about the contract Thursday evening at city hall.