09/20/10 — Wayne Commissioners considering district service lines change

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Wayne Commissioners considering district service lines change

By Steve Herring
Published in News on September 20, 2010 1:46 PM

Wayne County residents Tuesday morning will have the opportunity to be heard on proposed new fire service district lines that county fire officials say will clarify existing fire protection and insurance district lines without any additional tax.

A public hearing on the proposal will begin at 9:15 a.m. in the commissioners' meeting room on the fourth floor of the county courthouse annex. An agenda briefing will be held at 8 a.m. followed by the meeting at 9 a.m.

Currently, county homes served by a fire department receive no insurance premium benefit because they are located in areas that fall outside a fire department's insurance district. That also means those fire departments receive no fire tax revenue from those properties.

People who live in a fire protection district may receive a break on their fire insurance premiums based on the department's insurance rating.

In other parts of the county, there are overlapping fire district lines that generate confusion as to which district should receive the fire tax revenues.

The county's fire districts were created by public vote. Most matched rural fire protection districts, the area served by a fire station, that in essence are fire tax districts. Another vote would be required to change the districts.

Changes in state legislation allow counties to create new taxable districts including fire district.

The new fire service district lines would mirror the updated fire protection districts approved by commissioners in January 2009.

The districts would not change the service or delivery of services currently being provided in the county, and there would be no additional tax burden.

Just as is the case now, fire departments would continue to contract with the county and provide fire protection for their respective fire protection districts. The fire departments also would continue to submit a budget request to the county based on fire tax rates approved by commissioners, he said.

Commissioners have not indicated when or if they would approve the changes. If they are approved, the new district would not become effective until the 2011-12 budget year.

Most people will not even notice the change, county fire officials said.

In other business Tuesday, commissioners will consider a consent agenda item to allow an easement for Progress Energy at the county landfill at Dudley.

Methane Power has begun construction at the landfill to capture methane gas, a byproduct of decomposition, and will use it to create electricity. The electricity would be sold to Progress Energy. The county will receive a portion of the revenues.

Currently the gas is simply burned off using a flare.

The project could be completed by December.

The easement is needed for Progress Energy to install facilities and provide service at the site. It will share the existing easement with Tri-County Electric Membership Corp.

Commissioners also are expected to adopt a code of ethics for the board. The code was discussed at the board's last session, but was tabled to make corrections and to make some additions.

The state now requires ethics training for boards. The code commissioners are considering was prepared by County Attorney Borden Parker.

The board will have seven subdivision final plats to consider:

* Larry Sullivan, two lots on the north side of Fussell Road in New Hope Township; owner/developer Larry Sullivan estate.

* L.G. King, one lot on the east side of Camp Jubilee Road on Indian Springs Township; owner/developer Flora Strickland.

* Santos Lopez, two lots east of Camp Jubilee Road in Indian Springs Township; owner/developer Mr. and Mrs. Santos Lopez.

* William R. and Leah Fields, one lot on the north side of Nor-Am Road in Buck Swamp Township; owner, operator William R. and Leah Fields.

* Angela Hood Hancock, one lot on the west side of Falling Creek Church Road in Grantham Township; owners/developers Grover and Molly Hood.

* Westpointe Manor, revision of lot 19 divided into three lots on the north side of Outlaw Road in Brogden Township; owner/developer Haywood Outlaw.

* Paul Kent Joyner, one lot on the south side of Selah Church Road in Grantham Township; owner/developer Anthony Edwards.