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Rural Morgan County Fire Protection
If you have a home, business, or farm just outside the city limits of Jacksonville, you have until the end of the year to get fire protection. But if history is an indication, not everyone will sign up, and that can prove costly.
"We have some people that will sign up for one year and then skip a year and then come back another year, just kind of take a chance," said Rick Kluge, the Jacksonville Fire Chief.
Every year, owners or occupants of rural commercial, industrial, residential, and farm property located within a certain radius of Jacksonville, but outside the city limits, have an option to pay for fire protection with the city. John Mullens, who lives just north of the city, pays for it.
"The main reason is, if you don't have fire protection, a lot of insurers won't pay anymore," Mullens said.
The annual fire protection subscription fee is a formula based on the property's value. The subscription is not mandatory, but if you don't sign up, and the fire department responds to your emergency, expect a steep bill.
"There are times I've sent out bills for more than $1,000," Kluge said.
If you want fire protection with the city of Jacksonville, you must sign up at the city clerk's office by December 31.
"I've seen some instances around the area, where they got there very quickly," Mullens said.
The Jacksonville fire chief also says if you're not signed up for protection, the process it takes to get someone to your emergency can be longer. Residents who live in other rural parts of Morgan County can also get fire protection. It depends on where they live. It may be from places like South Jacksonville, Chapin, or Arenzville.