The Laddonia Rural Fire Association held a meeting on September 12 to discuss possible ways to help increase funding for the department.
Recently, the department’s 1974 International tanker truck blew an engine. Efforts to replace the engine were unsuccessful, and a lack of adequate funds prevent the purchase a new truck.
Assistant Fire Chief Jerry Johnson addressed the crowd of concerned citizens regarding the possible tax initiative.
Currently, only 25 percent of the citizens in Laddonia pay dues to the Rural Fire Association. From May 2012 – May 2013, $13,100 was collected in dues. However, $11,737 of that went to operating costs, such as insurance, utilities, building maintenance, and fuel. Even if everyone paid their dues, it would not provide enough money to purchase a different truck.
To buy another 39-year old truck, it would cost the department around $10,000. If the department wanted a newer model truck that is 20 years old and the price jumps to $50-60,000.
Johnson proposed a tax initiative that would make the Rural Fire Association a tax supported fire district.
With a tax supported fire district, a special tax would be imposed based on all taxable property in the district, but would not exceed 30 cents per $100 of the assessed value.
If the estimated value is $10,000,000, then the amount of tax collected by the fire district would be $30,000 annually.
“It’s really your decision as to what you want protecting your homes out there. Another 39-year old truck that may blow a motor or something more reliable,” said Assistant Chief Johnson.
In order to get things started, a petition must be signed by 100 qualified voters in the district.
The petition must list the name of the proposed district, an estimate of number of inhabitants and of the assessed valuation of the taxable property of the district, and of the yield from the personal property located in the district, the estimated cost of proposed improvements, a general description of boundaries of the district or the territory, and any other information that may be useful to the court in determining the necessity for the organization of the district.
Once the petition is signed, it must then be filed in the office of the clerk of the circuit court.
A hearing with a judge will be set no less than 30 days and no more than 60 days after the petition is filed.
If the petition is approved, the tax initiative could be on the ballot in the upcoming April 2014 election.