North Apollo council plans on voting tonight on whether to abolish an annual fire fee that it charges residents for fire service protection. The fee was originated in 2013 to assist with North Apollo VFD’s operational expenses.
Per the Valley News Dispatch/TribLive, North Apollo council president President Laura Ford stated they were looking into possibly eliminating the fire fee due to residents who have come to her stating they can’t afford the fee.
The fee is currently $80 a year for businesses, and between $40-$50 a year for residents. The fire department would lose about $34,000 in revenue a year, and their annual budget is $55,000 and more than likely close their doors.
The fire department’s president, Josh McKendree, stated the department is open to alternative options for the fee, including payment plans and/or lowering it.
Per the article,”Ford said if the North Apollo department were to close, residents would likely be covered by the fire departments in Apollo, which she said is about a mile away.”
I find it very interesting that residents can’t find around $4 a month to pay for fire services. I also wonder how the Apollo fire department feels about this or were even contacted about the potential of them having to cover North Apollo (for free). Many councils assume that neighboring departments will just show up after the council shuts their own towns department down. There have been some cases where the department charges per call into the neighboring town.
This may be an opportunity for some consolidation as well. If there are two departments within a mile of each other, and financial issues exist, it may be time to consider merging. I don’t know the specifics of the departments involved, so I can’t really expand on whether it would be viable or not in this case.
We will definitely be keeping an eye on the situation.
To view the original article published by the Valley News Dispatch, please visit this link.