Volusia County leaders support plan to raise taxes to pay for…

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — Volusia County leaders are standing behind a plan that would raise taxes to pay for fire stations.
The county wants homeowners to spend about $38 more, per year, to keep the doors open at those fire stations.
At a county meeting Thursday, Channel 9 found out it isn’t a done deal yet, and there’s no set decision on whether to raise taxes and keep fire stations open.
But in DeLand, leaders supported the tax hike, but some warned it was not a permanent fix.
“We must maintain the integrity of the response time because it’s life-saving,” said Volusia County council member Joyce Cusack.
Over the last several weeks, the county has been reaching out to the public through meetings.
Residents were informed of two options: pay $38 more a year in taxes or lose four fire stations, while some others reduce staff.
Poll: Would you pay more taxes to save fire stations?
Council member Pat Patterson reiterated what one elected official told him at him at a meeting.
“He said, ‘Without the service we provide, the county provides in the northwest area.’ He said, ‘I wouldn’t be standing here, I’d be dead,’” Patterson said.
Officials said a survey showed 92 percent of 228 residents supported paying a higher tax.
A few who spoke Thursday were concerned about the future and the can being kicked down the road.
“That’s got to stop. It’s got to become a priority to say, ‘Let’s start becoming a real professional, modern day fire department,’” said resident Bill Klitch.
Some council members agreed, calling for change in the fire services model to prevent funding gaps in the future.
“In five or six years, we’re going to be sitting right here. You guys sitting there and we’re going to be sitting here discussing this matter again,” said Volusia County Council chairman Jason Davis.
The new tax for fire services will now be incorporated into the county’s budget, which will be voted on in September.
via Volusia County leaders support plan to raise taxes to pay for… | www.wftv.com.

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