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.
By Sharon Drake – Tribune-Review
A dispute between the Indiana Township Volunteer Firefighters Association and Indiana Township supervisors was resolved when they agreed on criteria for distributing part of the proceeds from a fire tax.
The $120,000, half of the revenue raised from a 0.41-mill emergency services tax, will go into a township fund designated for major expenditures and long-term capital items for the Middle Road, Dorseyville and Rural Ridge volunteer fire departments.
The firefighters association and township officials will determine final criteria for disbursing the funds. This means one department could get more than the others, although the other half of the revenue raised by the tax will be evenly divided.
This year’s allocation was distributed in the first quarter.
Rossilynne Skena – triblive.com
Mt. Pleasant Township firefighters pitched to the public on Tuesday their idea for an annual fee to help fund fire stations under the message that fire service is dangerous and “safety is not free.”
More than 50 people attended the meeting at Norvelt Fire Department.
Township firefighters, part of the Mt. Pleasant Township Emergency Services Association, want the township to consider a levy of a 1-mill or 1.5-mills, which would be split evenly among the fire departments.
A levy of 1-mill would generate $96,000.
Eleven municipalities in Westmoreland County impose similar levies, often called “fire equipment and firehouse” taxes.
Don Hill, chief of the township’s Trauger station, has said the goal of the fee is to improve fire equipment and fire stations, as well as to offer fire training.
Mt. Pleasant firefighters have said that interest in volunteer fire department fundraisers has waned in the poor economy, while costs for fire engines and other equipment have exploded.
The township is home to five volunteer fire departments: Calumet, Hecla, Kecksburg, Norvelt and Trauger.