On Oct. 16 area fire districts held public hearings on their 2014 budgets. The newly formed North West Fire District has not yet approved its budget, but is bound to adhere to a tax rate of $1.674 per $1,000 of assessed value. For many area residents affected by the merger, this represents a tax increase. Van Buren Town Supervisor Claude Skyes said that while he’d rather not see taxes rise, “The new fire district was inevitable. There weren’t many options.”
With commissioner elections for the new North West fire district scheduled for December, Sykes encourages residents within the district to get involved in their fire districts and vote.
“Fire commissioner boards are generally stacked with people from the fire community. Maybe it would be better to have a business man from the community on the board,” he said. “If you want good fire service for a reasonable cost, people need to get involved.”
Several other local fire districts have also released estimated tax rates for 2014. The following tax rates are based on $1,000 of assessed property value: Belgium Cold Springs, $1.297; Seneca River, $2.943; Plainville, $1.22. Based on Cody Fire District’s proposed 2014 budget, the tax rate is expected to be $2.076, but the district could not be reached for confirmation.
Kim Dryden is a contributor to the Messenger. She can be reached via the editor at email@example.com.