Volusia forced to choose: Raise taxes or close 4 fire stations
This is an Old Politicians Game and most taxpayers still fall for these scare tactics.
They play the “We will have to layoff Police or Firefighters” card, or we have to increase taxes. But never mention or look to cut operating cost within any other County functions or expenditures ….. [editors note]
By Saul Saenz, Volusia County Reporter
Tuesday, Feb. 24
Riverview United Methodist Church
2253 John Anderson Dr. Ormond-by-the-Sea
News that Volusia County is being forced to either raise property taxes or shut down four fire stations has sent shockwaves throughout the county.
Joice Stuhl, of DeLand, lives near one of the fire stations on the chopping block, and was shocked to see the sign in front letting homeowners know it could be closing unless taxpayers pay more.
“When you hear about the possibility that they might shut it down, it’s scary because of having fires,” said Stuhl.
But county leaders say a perfect storm is forcing them to make the choice.
Volusia County spokesman Dave Byron says dropping property values, followed by an increase in homestead exemptions, greatly lowered the amount of property taxes the county uses to pay for fire services.
Byron says the county was forced to use fire reserve funds to pay for services.
“We’re going to run out of reserves by 2017,” Byron said.
So, it’s either raise property taxes by 45 cents per $1,000 in property values in unincorporated areas of the county, or close four fire stations:
Station 18 — Rima Ridge
Station 34 — Indian Mound
Station 42 — Kepler Ridge
Station 45 — St. Johns
That increase represents about a $50 hike per homeowner in what they are currently paying annually.
Byron admits closing those stations could hamper response times. That’s what happened Wednesday, when a garage in DeLand was gutted by a fire.
Truck 45 comes from a station that’s on the chopping block. It took them approximately 6 minutes to get to the fire on Wednesday. The next closest unit took about 12 minutes to get there.
Homeowners living near stations on the chopping block, including Tim Dreggors, said they want the county to keep the stations open.
“I prefer the increase,” said Dreggors. “We need the fire protection.”
“I would rather have the taxes,” homeowner Lu Weesner agreed. “There’s not another fire station in this area, so we really need that one.”
Still, some are asking why the county cannot take funds from its general budget to pay the difference. Byron said they can’t because county fire services do not support taxpayers within city limits.
“In other words, those taxes would be for services that they don’t receive,” Byron explained, adding that would be double taxation — which is illegal.
The next public meeting concerning raising property taxes for Volusia Fire Service funds will be held Tuesday, Feb. 24, starting at 6 p.m. at the Riverview United Methodist Church, located at 2253 John Anderson Drive, in Ormond-by-the-Sea
via Volusia forced to choose: Raise taxes or close 4 fire stations.
4 thoughts on “Volusia forced to choose: Raise taxes or close 4 fire stations”
This is just the same game the firefighters play with the news channels when their “demands” are not met with a new contract to scare the poor taxpayers. OH, we pooor firefighters only make $10 per hour. Check what the lowest paid firefighters get paid over $33,000 per year plus benefits. What doesnt’ add up? Dont’ forget there $300,000 drop payouts at age 43 with monthly “retirement” at $4500 per month. poor poor firefighters.boohoo
The money wasted on duplication of services because of the infantile position our professional fire fighters adopt every time these sort of discussions arise is wearing thin. Make no mistake this ‘county issue’ will have ramifications within the Cities. The time for a county wide consolidated approach to fire and rescue to ease the tax burden on residents is long over due. That discussion when it makes it to the Port Orange dais should be fascinating.
What I find interesting is that the stations targeted are close to Cities. The cities are going to be forced to take on those areas for the county because the response time will be less. When a fire in Un-Incorporated Volusia starts and it is near Port Orange POFD will respond because that’s what the mutual agreement says they have to respond.
The county is putting more burdens onto the cities because in reality the County would rather just be like Jacksonville (Duval County) 1 huge city that is run by them.
The cities already take on areas close to county areas as well as other cities. I know property owners in the South Williamson area pay thousands in property taxes and their fire station responds to calls in the county and New Symrna Beach!!! NSB allowed Venetian Bay to be built but does not even protect it…Port Orange does it for them…
So imagine if you pay over $4000/yr in property taxes and you have an emergency.. Your fire truck could very well be in NSB subsidizing that cities fire protection… Or in Spruce Creek Fly In covering county fire districts..
You can get all the residents of Cypress Head to a council meeting when they want the golf course remodeled but no one shows up to scream about their fire protection sent out of the city to cover calls in Venetian Bay.