At this week’s budget retreat the Maxton Town Board approved a fire tax, which would see 10 cents per $100 of assessed property value go toward paying for fire services.
According to interim town manager Angela Pitchford, that total may be reassessed at next Tuesday’s board meeting, as it is likely more than what the town would need to pay for fire services.
The town’s fire services are currently rendered by Queheel Fire Department in Robeson County, thanks to an agreement with that department in effect since 2001.
In contract negotiations this year Queheel was asking for approximately $45,000 in exchange for its services, which is more than double what the town was paying two years ago, noted Commissioner James McDougald.
“They made their calculations for this year and determined that they were not being adequately compensated,” said McDougald, and rather than pay for the services from a dwindling general fund, the board has decided to create a fire tax specifically for the purpose of paying for fire related services.
As it stands now, the tax would raise about $80,000 per year, with any extra being saved for later.
“The rest of the money would go into a special fund that we would want to build up for the future, specifically for fire,” said McDougald.
McDougald and Pitchford both commented that, if it is changed during next week’s meeting, the tax will likely be decreased to come closer to the total that Queheel is asking.
“There is no use in overcharging the residents for something that we don’t have to, but we realize the tax needs to be enacted, and we think it will leave Queheel happy,” said McDougald.