HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FLA - The Hillsborough County Commission decided to move forward with finding funding to construct more fire stations or to expand the current ones in the county.
The money for those projects would come from Fire Impact Fees on new construction. ABC Action News learned the amount for those fees has not been adjusted since 1985.
This comes after the Hillsborough County Firefighters Union is calling for one new fire station per year until there are enough to keep up with the growth in the county.
Travis Horn, with the union, spoke before county commissioners on Wednesday saying that only one new fire station in the past decade is not enough to meet increase demands.
"We're sounding the alarm to alert you that our firefighters and medics are handling calls at a frenetic pace, call volumes are way up over the last decade or so," said Horn.
🔥 ONE FIRE STATION IN A DECADE: Hillsboroughs Fire Union calling for county to build one fire station per year. They say they’re 30 fire stations behind because of growth. @abcactionnews pic.twitter.com/TUc3W34ru8
— Nicole Grigg (@NicoleSGrigg) February 6, 2019
The union says the need is across Hillsborough county, especially the southern part of Hillsborough County.
Horn said the Sun City north is the most in need.
The Hillsborough County Fire Department responded to 110,000 calls last year, and Horn said that's way up over the last decade.
Horn added that the lack of new fire stations is putting lives at risk.
ABC Action News spoke with the Hillsborough County Fire Chief who had no comment about the union's statements.
The union will be launching a website soon that will be called, "get the fire facts dot com."
"We can save lives by doing so now rather than continuing to kick the can down the road," said Horn.
The union expressed how pleased they were with the move by the board.
Union Spokesperson, Travis Horn, said the Fire Rescue Impact Fees are critical because the county needs more and better fire services to protect the community.
The commissioners asked the county attorney to reach out to stakeholders and by May 1st the board hopes they will be presented with an ordinance they can consider adopting on the matter. Horn said most of the calls firefighters receive are medical and not fire related calls.
“We gotta find a way to pay for this and I think the board made (a) fair conclusion on how we can do that while addressing the growth and having the growth pay for itself,” Horn said.
The board also would like all impact fees to be reviewed every 5 years.