By Abbi Overfelt
November 26, 2013
On Nov. 14 the Laurinburg Exchange published an article explaining the county Fire Departments’ financial situation and why an increase of 3-cent in the fire tax was necessary. This would increase the present 2-cent firetax to 5 cents.
Budgets should always be reviewed for waste before an increases is considered, because the bigger the budget the bigger the waste, but the $ 225,000 budget for seven Scotland County Fire Departments does not appear to fall in the category of a large budget, especially when compared to the school systems’ budget which demands nearly half of our property tax.
I appreciate what the 150 volunteers and the regular employees of the Scotland County Fire Departments do for our community. They carry not only a personal and financial burden for time away from family and fuel cost for their own vehicles when traveling to fires, but we expect them to respond in our need to be ready day or night, weekend or holiday and often under difficult circumstances. Have we ever asked ourselves what we would do without these dedicated people?
The people serving in the seven Scotland County Fire Departments provide a great and valuable service and deserve our fullest support.
Normally I would not support an increase, but a recent eye opener changed my opinion in this case. It was when I renewed my 2014 vehicle registration and paid for my property tax at the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles. My Scotland County tax was $38.73 — yes it’s an old car — and the Scotland County Fire Tax was $ 0.75. The numbers appeared completely out of balance. Looking at them it demonstrates how little the Fire Departments receives from the total Scotland County amount.
Unfortunately I didn’t hear any comments from local citizens after the Nov. 14 article was printed, but I believe that most of us support the Fire Chiefs request for additional funding. The article was a direct plea to the public for support of their financial situation.
Lets hope our County Commissioners will find a way to resolve this matter.