Duplin County voters approve new fire tax

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DUPLIN COUNTY, N.C. (WNCT) – Home and property owners in parts of Duplin County will soon pay a new fee for fire services.

Voters approved the fee on Tuesday that will be added to the annual county property tax.

Fire stations like Lyman Volunteer Fire Dept. and Teachey Volunteer Fire Dept. asked for about 5 cents per $100 in home value. For example, if a home is valued at $100,000, the new fee will add $50 to your property tax bill. But the amount can vary by area. Wallace Fire Department asked for 7 cents per $100.

At least ten fire departments in the county will use the tax money. Assistant Fire Chief Ronnie Page at Teachey Volunteer Fire Dept. says new equipment is crucial to serving the community. Tax funding will allow firefighters to focus on training time instead of fundraising time.

“We don’t have to worry about where we’re going to get this piece of equipment or how we’re going to​ get this truck fixed. We have it in our budget now,” said Page.

Teachey Fire District got 76.67 percent of the vote. Lyman Fire District got the fire tax with 76.5 percent of the vote.

Pricey equipment led firefighters at Lyman Volunteer Fire Department to push for a fire tax in their district.

“Gloves, hoods, pants, coat, boots and helmet, you’re ​ looking somewhere around $3,200,” said Jared Scholar, Assistant Fire Chief at the Lyman Volunteer Fire Department.

The tax money will help purchase new gear and lower fire departments’ insurance ratings. As a result, it will lower homeowners’ insurance costs.

The new fee is expected to take effect later this year.

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