The Transylvania Times -

Overhaul Fire Districts


June 6, 2019

Our current fire district taxing policy is both inequitable to our taxpayers and has the potential to present a safety issue.

The existing system has fire tax districts that have evolved over the years with little adjustment for changes in population densities or the addition of fire stations. These fire tax districts also serve as service areas. Unfortunately, the primary objective for the current geographical areas was to establish a tax base sufficient to generate funding for the individual fire department’s budget rather than to provide the fastest response time for emergencies within the district.

I’m confident the area’s residents would consider the primary objective for each fire district should be to provide the fastest response to an emergency. I would encourage our Board of Commissioners to request that new service districts should be identified that would structure the areas surrounding each fire department using the fastest response time for the residences served. By comparing the new boundaries with the current districts, they would quickly see how many residences would have their service improved. Admittedly, the numbers would change and the resulting tax contributions as well. But, options to more equitably produce tax revenue were presented in their recent workshop.

I suggest the board should strongly consider taking this opportunity to overhaul our fire district and service area district boundaries with much more effective and equitable replacements. The county would be a much better place to live as a result.

Bill Buford



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