A week after hearing their requests, the McDowell County Commissioners approved higher rates for fire tax districts in both Marion and Old Fort.
During a special meeting on Thursday morning, the McDowell County Commissioners approved increases for the Marion Area fire tax district served by city firefighters as well as the districts within the town of Old Fort and the area surrounding Old Fort both served by the town’s fire department.
Starting July 1 with the 2019-2020 fiscal year, the new tax rate for the Marion Area District will go from the current 6 cents per $100 valuation to the new 8 cents per $100 valuation. For the owner of a $100,000 home in the Marion Area, it means the fire tax rate will rise by $20 annually.
This request for an increase was made by city of Marion officials last week during the special meeting about the proposed county budget.
On Thursday, May 30, City Manager Bob Boyette, Mayor Steve Little and Ray McDaniel, who will soon take over as the new fire chief, all talked to the commissioners about the need for a 2 cent increase in the tax rate for the Marion Area Fire District. This request was made because of the hiring of three new full-time firefighters and one part-time firefighter at the department and the purchase of needed turnout gear, according to city of Marion officials.
During the special meeting on Thursday, the commissioners also approved requests from the Old Fort Fire Department.
Starting July 1 with the 2019-2020 fiscal year, the new tax rate within the town of Old Fort will go from the current 4 cents per $100 valuation to the new 6 cents per $100 valuation. For the owner of a $100,000 home inside Old Fort, it means the fire tax rate will rise by $20 annually.
In addition, the tax rate for the six-mile district outside of Old Fort will go up by 3 cents. It will go from the current 6 cents per $100 valuation to the new 9 cents per $100 valuation. For the owner of a $100,000 home within that district around the town, it means the fire tax rate will rise by $30 annually.
The week before, Fire Chief Ron Richardson said his department asked for the increases because Old Fort firefighters are getting more and more calls for wrecks on Interstate 40 and also have to respond to more industrial fires. In addition, the town’s Fire Department needs to replace an old fire engine and the estimated cost for a new one is $690,000, said Richardson to county officials.
No other action by the commissioners was taken during Thursday’s special meeting. They held a closed session for approximately 30 minutes to discuss a personnel matter but did not vote on it afterwards.
The McDowell County Commissioners are scheduled to hold a public hearing about the proposed 2019-2020 budget at the regular meeting on Monday, which starts at 5 p.m.