Columbia Fire Department says it needs a new station, staff

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia City Council will vote Monday on an ordinance to raise the city property tax to fund police and fire department staff. The ordinance would place on the November ballot the decision to raise the property tax and would be called Proposition One.

Brad Fraizer, Columbia Fire battalion chief, said the expansion of Columbia is contributing to slower response times to the outskirts of the city. To provide better fire protection for those areas, the department says it needs more firefighters.

"The Columbia Fire Department currently has two primary staffing goals. Our number one goal is to fully staff Fire Station Two," Fraizer said.  He said Station Two needs six additional fire fighters to be fully staffed. 

"Our second goal is to build and staff Fire Station Ten," Fraizer said.

The Columbia Fire Department has nine fire stations now. The tenth fire station would either go in northeast or southwest Columbia--two areas where there is major expansion of the city. Fraizer said the decision as to where to build the new station would be up to the city council. 

"We don't have a precise location yet. We have a general area, but that's all subject to change depending on when the decision to build a Fire Station Ten will be made," Frazier said.

If the council put the measure on the ballot and voters approve, the property tax would increase by 30 cents per every $100 of assessed value of property.