From the Chief's Desk

From the Chief's Desk

A Message to Residents of the Tice Fire District

 

A Message to Residents of the Tice Fire District

From Fire Chief Ted Ross

 

For over 35 years, the Tice Fire District has protected the citizens and businesses that make up our district. Unfortunately, we find ourselves at a crossroad; with declining property values we have lost 43% of our ad valorem tax revenue. To make up for this loss of revenue, the District has cut over $2.0 million in spending and eliminated 4 positions. Any further reduction of personnel would likely lead to higher property insurance premiums for property owners and businesses. 

 

Your publically elected Board of Fire Commissioners has authorized a referendum for registered voters at the August 26 primary election to consider voting for a change in the maximum millage rate to fund your fire district. The last time the residents of the District approved the maximum millage rate was in 1993. Our current millage rate is 3.00.  Your Board is asking you for the ability to adjust the millage rate from 3.00 mills to a cap of 3.75 mills. An increase to 3.75 mills would equate to an additional $75.00 per year based on a home value of $100,000; that’s $6.25 a month.

 

Your Board of Fire Commissioners annually sets the budget at public meetings. When the economy was strong, the Fire Board voluntary lowered the millage rate, giving relief to taxpayers. The District millage rate was 2.67 in 2007 and 2.79 in 2008. The millage rate they approve is based upon operational needs, so we may not need to spend up to the millage cap. It simply gives us the ability to do so when financially needed. 

 

In 2010, the District was forced to lay off 10 firefighters. The District was only able to rehire the 10 firefighter employees and retain an additional 6 firefighters because the District is currently receiving grant money, on a temporary basis, in the form of a SAFER Grant from the Federal government which pays the salaries of the 16 employees.  The SAFER Grant will expire in 2015. If funding is not received, the District Board will have no alternative to reducing services and eliminating personnel to balance the budget.

 

Any reduction in personnel or rescue services would probably affect your property Insurance Service Organization (ISO) rating. The rating that the ISO assigns is used by your insurance company to determine how much you pay for property insurance. A higher ISO rating means an increase in the amount of property insurance premiums that you pay to the insurance company.  Currently, if your property is located within 5 miles of the Tice Fire Station or the Buckingham Fire Station, your ISO rating is 4.  

 

Currently we provide emergency response to fires, medical calls, hazardous material incidents, disasters, vehicle crashes, and just about just about any other emergency that you can imagine. We average 2,325 calls annually and our average response time is 4 minutes. If we do not receive additional funding, we may be forced to reduce these services. If our maximum millage rate is increased to 3.75, we would generate enough funds to maintain a proper level of emergency service. We can only provide the level of fire protection that our community is willing to support.

 

We thank you for your continued support, and for allowing us the opportunity to serve. You are invited to attend a “Town Hall Meeting” on one of the following dates to discuss the maximum millage rate referendum.

·         August 11, 6 PM, Tice Station 9351 Workmen Way

·         August 16, 9 AM, Buckingham Station 5850 Buckingham Road

·         August 18, 6 PM, Buckingham Station 5850 Buckingham Road

·         August 23, 9 AM, Tice Station 9351 Workmen Way

 

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