ETJ may see increase in fire tax

CHARLOTTE – Mecklenburg County residents living outside of any city limits may see a rise in the amount of taxes they pay for fire department protection.

County commissioners met Dec. 20 to discuss a tax increase, which could mean the addition of between four and seven cents on top of the two-tenths of a cent that residents in extraterritorial jurisdictions already pay for fire protection.

The tax increase could provide thousands of additional dollars to Mecklenburg County to ease the $2.5 million it spent responding to fire in extraterritorial jurisdictions in 2010, according to County Fire Marshall Mark Auten.

Residents living in extraterritorial jurisdictions across the county pay a fraction of what residents living in town limits pay toward fire protection, Auten said. While residents living outside of town may argue their distance eliminates the need to pay residential fire taxes, Auten said it costs more money for fire departments to fight fires in areas where fire hydrants aren’t readily available.

“The fire tax will equitably allocate resources across service districts,” Auten said. “It will have the greatest impact on the citizens in the ETJ.”

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