(a) In addition to all other ad valorem taxes levied, the Marengo County Commission may levy on an annual basis, commencing with the tax year beginning October 1, 1997, an ad valorem tax on all taxable property located in Marengo County, excluding the city limits of Demopolis, at a rate of two mills per dollar of assessed value of the taxable property, the proceeds of which shall be paid into the county general fund and distributed for the benefit of fire protection.
(b) Within 90 days of payment into the county general fund, the county commission shall pay the funds to the Marengo County Association of Fire and Rescue Departments, Incorporated. The county association shall divide the funds equally among all the eligible volunteer fire departments and the Alabama Forestry Commission at each quarter meeting of the county association. The county commission and the county association may jointly establish rules regarding the transfer, investing, accounting, and handling of the funds.
(c) Funds paid to eligible volunteer fire departments shall only be expended for fire protection services, including training, supplies, buildings, capital improvements, and equipment. An eligible volunteer fire department shall mean a volunteer fire department located in Marengo County that is certified under the guidelines of the Alabama Forestry Commission and is a member in good standing of the Marengo County Association of Fire and Rescue Departments, Incorporated. The funds may not be expended for salaries, food, drink, social activities, or fund-raising activities. After receiving funds, the volunteer fire departments shall keep accurate records to verify that the funds were properly expended. By September 15th of each year, each department and the Alabama Forestry Commission shall file a form with the county association detailing the expenditures of all funds during the previous 12 months and setting out a schedule of all proposed projects. The filing shall also account for all unspent funds and whether the unspent funds have been obligated. The county association shall supply the accounting forms to each eligible volunteer fire department and the Alabama Forestry Commission.
(d) The Alabama Forestry Commission's share of these funds collected shall be used in Marengo County only. The funds shall be used for buildings and purchase of equipment. The funds shall not be expended for salaries.
(e) Upon dissolution or abandonment of any eligible volunteer fire department, any remaining funds shall, after all indebtedness has been satisfied, be transferred to the county association.
(f) The personnel of volunteer fire departments and the Alabama Forestry Commission shall not be considered as employees, servants, or agents of the county and the members of the county commission and the employees of the county shall not be liable in either their official capacity or in a private capacity for the actions of the personnel of volunteer fire departments and the Alabama Forestry Commission.