Mill Spring Fire Department asks for one-cent fire tax increase

Published 6:39 pm Sunday, May 6, 2012

Mill Spring Fire Chief Trenton Carswell has asked the Polk County Board of Commissioners for a penny increase in the fire tax paid by residents of the Mill Spring Fire District.
The department’s fire tax commissioners unanimously approved the one-cent increase and recommended the county commissioners do likewise, Carswell said. County commissioners must approve the increase, which would raise the district’s fire tax rate from 5 cents to 6 cents for each $100 of property valuation. The Polk County Board of Commissioners is scheduled to consider fire budgets for all the county departments at its May 16 meeting.
A one-cent increase on taxes would mean a $10 increase on a $100,000 home or a $20 increase on a $200,000 home. Based on county estimates for revenue in the 2013 fiscal year, the change would increase the department’s net income from the county from an estimated $151,126 to an estimated net of $181,352, Carswell said.
The department’s budget is the lowest of the six fire departments in Polk County. Fire taxes are collected when homeowners pay their property tax bills and when county taxes are paid on motor vehicles.
The chief said the increase – the first tax rate increase for the department in four years – is needed to help offset increased fuel cost and increases in other supplies used by the department. A series of grants from the Federal Assistance to Firefighters program has helped the department replace obsolete equipment and purchase some new gear, such as protective clothing for the firefighters. Carswell said the department is currently raising money to purchase a new truck to help meet water supply demands in a district without fixed fire hydrants.
An open house – the department’s annual “May-Day” sale and car show – is scheduled for May 19 in conjunction with the Mill Spring Agricultural Center.
– article submitted
by Charles H. Green

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