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Pickens Co. looks to improve fire protection by changing funding method – Valley Stream, New York

Valley Stream, New York 2022-05-19 23:22:36 –

Pickens County, South Carolina (WSPA) – Pickens County aims to improve fire protection throughout the county.

The county may soon move from firefighting costs to a mill-based income system.

Billy Gibson, director of Pickens County emergency services, said the goal was to generate $ 8.9 million to increase staff and improve equipment.

County officials said the three fire departments were already in the milling rate system.

“Currently, three districts are mileage rates, which means that some of the fire protection fees are based on mileage based on the value of home, business, or outdoor land,” says Gibson. Said.

“By this year, there were 10 fire departments, which were covered by firefighting costs. Past firefighting costs can vary from region to region, depending on the district in which you lived. You literally live on one side of the road in the county. There was a place to pay one fire if you were, and another if you lived in an equivalent house on the other side of the road, “Gibson said.

According to Gibson, the Pickens County Council has re-scheduled firefighting costs to paramedics to make it more equitable based on square feet.

“So homes and companies, depending on their size, will be the amount of firefighting they paid,” Gibson said.

“Therefore, in the future, homes and businesses, outdoor land, vehicles, motorcycles and RVs will be assessed with a 23 mil fire tax to help pay for fire protection in the county,” Gibson said. “23 mils sound a bit daunting. It sounds a bit big, but considering that we’re raising $ 8.9 million, the $ 8.9 million budget in it is pretty good. It’s the mileage rate. “

This means paying taxes through a more organized system based on land value and geographic area, not fees.

“Our base price was about $ 91, which was for a very small house. That was our base price. It went up, depending on the size of the house,” Gibson said. Said. “Most of the time we find it feels like a customer’s millage rate. The taxes are about the same.”

“For example, if someone lived in a $ 100,000 home, they now, on average, would pay $ 91 for the fire. If you have a vehicle, that mileage will be about $ 84 plus. We know it will be, “Gibson said. “On average, our car’s tax will be around $ 17 to $ 18, so that’s going to stay pretty much the same.”

“With some of our more upscale developments, those who see an increase will be a much bigger home of much value,” Gibson said.

The changes do not include municipalities within Pickens County such as Pickens, Easley, Central and Clemson.

According to Gibson, operating costs are rising and as they grow, this will help. Authorities hope this will help improve public safety.

“Our overall goal is to improve public safety. As I mentioned in firefighting costs, we had unfair fire protection in each district. This allowed us to do everything. We will have the same level of fire protection in our district, “Gibson said.

“Our main goal is to move to a fire department that is currently unstaffed,” says Gibson. “We know that response time is the main driver of public safety, so there are already some manned stations. There are manned stations only during the day, and then totally unmanned. There are several stations. “

Gibson said he would start hiring more full-time firefighters once the funds were available to ensure that the fleet was up to date.

One woman said this was a good thing, regardless of cost.

“Because safety comes first, that is, we have grandchildren, and we want to know that we will be able to take them out in the event of a fire,” said resident Donna Wadel. ..

“Safety is more important. The more fire departments and more people we have, the better,” Wadel said.

David Scott Centel said more people would be helpful, but he was worried about the possible costs of some.

“It’s going to be difficult now because everything is so tight. Gas is incredibly expensive,” said Scott Centel.

Officials said they would go to the Pickens County Council for a third and final reading at a special meeting in June.

Pickens Co. looks to improve fire protection by changing funding method Source link Pickens Co. looks to improve fire protection by changing funding method

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