Frederick County Commissioners Consider Overhauling Fire Tax

As part of their Fiscal Year 2014 budget discussions, Frederick County Commissioners are considering a change in funding for fire and rescue services. Currently funded through a fire tax, the proposal would abolish the fire tax and fund fire and rescue services mainly through the property tax. As reported by the Frederick News-Post:

In recent years, the fire tax has fallen far short of covering costs, and bridging the gap has meant siphoning millions of dollars each year from the county general fund.

The fire tax fund’s projected shortfall for fiscal 2014 was $12 million, said Regina Howell, the county’s budget officer.

The plan now under consideration would abolish the fire tax; it would fund emergency services mainly through property taxes, which would go up by 12.8 cents to $1.064 per $100 of assessed value.

The drafted plan would also shave more than $1 million from emergency services costs by reducing manpower at New Market Volunteer Fire Co. and Libertytown Volunteer Fire Department, as well as cutting a health and wellness program and part-time fire marshal position.