06/13/10 — Fire taxes stay steady for most this year

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Fire taxes stay steady for most this year

By Steve Herring
Published in News on June 13, 2010 1:50 AM

Residents in the Elroy Fire District will see a 1.5-cent increase in their fire tax bill should the county budget be approved as submitted. It is the only one of the 30 fire districts serving Wayne County that will experience an increase.

The increase from 5 cents to 6.5 cents per $100 of value, which will equal $43,738 in additional revenues, was requested by the district to help defray costs of a new substation on St. Johns Church Road.

For example, for a home valued at $100,000, the additional 1.5 cents will mean $15 more per year.

Fire tax revenues are used for operating expenses for the fire departments.

"The reason (the fire district) requested it is they built that satellite facility," County Manager Lee Smith said. "There has been a lot of growth near Walnut Creek and south of that area, so they really had to do that to give sufficient coverage out there."

There were no requests for any other fire tax changes, Smith said.

"The next time (all tax rates) will be looked at is in 2011 when we go effective with (property revaluation) because what can happen then is that your value may go up," he said. "Your value may go down. Depending on that, their tax rates may have to be adjusted. That is something we will have to look at in the budget next year (2011-12).

"You have to back into the budget -- what will it take to fund this budget? During revaluation we have to advertise a revenue neutral tax rate. That says to raise the same amount of revenue it would take 'x' and you advertise that rate. Does that mean that is the rate? Absolutely not because that may be the year that you are building a school or a fire department is buying a fire truck so the rate has to be adjusted to account for that additional revenue. We will advertise because that is required by law, the revenue neutral rates."

Smith said people often ask what he thinks values and rates are going to do.

"You don't know," he said.

State budget surpluses or shortfalls are a key factor in determining what money will be available for a local budget, he added.

The tax rates for the county's other departments are:

* Antioch -- 8 cents

* Arrington -- 7.8 cents

* Belfast -- 5 cents

* Dudley -- 7 cents

* East Wayne -- 8 cents

* Eureka -- 8 cents

* Faro -- 8 cents

* Grantham -- 8 cents

* Indian Springs -- 6 cents

* Jordans Chapel -- 7 cents

* Little River -- 8 cents

* Mar-Mac -- 6 cents

* Nahunta -- 7 cents

* New Hope -- 6 cents

* Northern Wayne -- 6 cents

* Oakland -- 7 cents

* Patetown -- 5 cents

* Pinewood -- 7 cents

* Pleasant Grove -- 7 cents

* Polly Watson -- 6 cents

* Pricetown -- 6 cents

* Rosewood -- 5 cents

* Saulston -- 6 cents

* Seven Springs -- 4 cents

* Smith Chapel -- 7 cents

* Thoroughfare -- 8 cents

* Waylin -- 4.5 cents

Two out-of-county fire departments also serve portions of Wayne County:

* Boon Hill (Johnston County) -- 5 cents

* Mosley Hall (LaGrange) -- 4 cents.