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Municipal Funding

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  • Municipal Funding

    We are presently working with one of the townships, that surround our town,to develop a long tern funding plan that will mandate a "Fire Tax" for all the property owners. We are planning a series of community meetings to educate the public on why we need this type of funding plan for our volunteer fire companies & what it will do for us & the community. This will also include all of us being accountable to the township on how we are spending those funds. One important note is that we are a rural area with some residential developments & light business.
    Are there other municipalities out there that are using this funding method for their volunteer fire companies? What problems did you have instituting this tax & what feedback did you get from the community? Wouldn't you rather have a plan like this instead of having to go to your municipality everytime you need some extra funds?

  • #2
    WE finally had a fire tax instituted by our borough a few years ago. The only problem we have is that they asked the then-chief how much we needed to operate yearly. When he told them our operating budget they instituted the milage based on that amount.

    Then they took what they had previously spent on us for insurance, fleet and workers comp, and took it off the top. We then found ourselves in the hole to start with. They also made us stop sending out our annual fund drive for 2 years so people wouldn't feel double-taxed.

    The annual amount has increased thanks to increased property value but it still is not enough. Last year we spent $10,000 of this year's money due to fleet maintenance costs. It also allows us nothing for savings for capital expenditures. We are now trying to have the milage increased and will be attending a borough long term planning meeting Monday night to start our case for that.

    Based on our experience, try this:

    1) Go in for 2 mils. That is the most any government can impose in Pennsylvania without a voters' referendum. If you have to settle for less, settle for one but nothing less. And don't let them tell you that they can't tax current taxpayers for future purchases that may not help them should they move. (We have a councilman who likes to think that way) Any time a cop car, dump truck, sewer plant or any other municipal purchase is made it is paid for with current dollars for future use.

    2) Make sure you have all your numbers. Take your budgets for the last 5 years to show how expensives have increased while revenue has not. It's just like applying for a FEMA grant. They just won't give it to you because you want it, you have to prove you need it.

    3) Solicit support from community leaders. People who are not on the township board but are influential in the area. Show them your need and ask for their help.

    4) Solicit support from businesses. Show them how a slight increase in their taxes COULD result in a decrease in insurance premiums. By having the additional funds you can get better equipment to get a better ISO rating.

    5) Whatever you end up with make sure it is in addition to whatever you receive now. Don't end up like we did where they took out their normal expenses from a new funding source.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by dragonfyre; 06-19-2003, 04:56 PM.
    Steve Dragon
    FFII, Fire Instructor II, Fire Officer I, Fire Appartus Driver Operator Certified
    Volunteers are never "off duty".


    • #3
      We also have a Fire Tax at 2 1/2 mils max is 3 mils. Our Township keeps this in a Fire Fund for us and we submit a budget at the beginning of every year. This fund is used for vehicle maintenance, electric bills, phone bills, vehicle fuel bills etc. What ever is left is used for equipment purchases. We don't have building maintenance bills because the Township owns our building. This works well for us because this way all the little bills are paid for automatically and our twice a year fund drive letters help us buy equipment not purchased by the tax.
      "Often Tested, Always Faithful, Brothers Forever"

      Once a Marine, Always a Marine

      I got the best of both worlds- Firefighter and Marine


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