Saluda Fire Department asks for more funds

Published 11:33 am Friday, June 2, 2023

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Board of Commissioners agrees to amend budget with property tax increase 


SALUDA-On Thursday, the Saluda Board of Commissioners met to discuss the new budget for the city and hear a presentation by the Saluda Fire Department regarding a request for more revenue for the department.

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Captain Nick Edwards addressed the Board concerning the city’s growth, increase in fire department protection coverage and its needs for the future.

In 2022, Saluda Fire and Rescue responded to 982 calls, the highest number in the recorded history of the department, and 242 of the calls occurred inside the city limits of Saluda. Captain Edwards claimed that calls so far in 2023 are already looking to exceed these numbers. Over the past three years, the department’s call volume has increased by 37% in the district and 49% within Saluda city limits.

Saluda Fire Department’s stated goals were to increase pay, repave the parking lot, update current buildings and equipment and improve training opportunities. Captain Edwards also discussed long-term goals such as the creation of a full-time Fire Chief position and replacing and improving equipment and vehicles.

The Board of Commissioners proposed and approved an amendment to the new budget that will involve adding a one-cent property tax to the citizens of Saluda. The tax will result in an extra $14,000 a month going directly to the fire and rescue department.

“I don’t have a problem where the money is going, and I don’t have a problem with the one cent,” said Commissioner Bob Walker. “I think that’s reasonable. ” 

“We are fortunate to have them,” said councilman Mark Oxtoby of the fire department and their performance.

Saluda will hold its next meeting to further discuss the budget on Monday, June 5, at 5 p.m.