KINSTON, N.C. — Residents in parts of Lenoir County are invited to meet officials from three volunteer fire department districts who are asking county commissioners to raise their individual fire tax.

If passed by the Lenoir County Board of Commissioners, those tax increases would help offset some of the higher costs that are affecting those districts.

The meetings are set to take place the week of March 20 in the Wyse Fork, Southwood and Sandy Bottom Volunteer Fire Department districts.

Lenoir County Fire Marshal Jake Turner said the meetings were requested by the county commissioners so the public could find out more information about how the proposed tax increases will help the residents inside the specific districts. The tax increases will affect real, personal and motor vehicles. This tax is specific to each individual fire district and all monies collected go directly to the department to provide fire protection and response.

“These taxes that are collected and distributed to these fire departments are essential to the continued operation of the departments and essential for fire protection services within the county,” Turner said in a media release. “These fire departments are very careful with the taxpayers’ dollars and provide so much more than just fire protection for the county. They continuously go above and beyond the call for service and provide a high level of fire protection within this county all while being 100 percent volunteer.

“Please feel free to come out and speak with them on this matter as they want an open line of communication with their community.”

The meetings will take place on the following days in these districts:

·      Monday, March 20: Wyse Fork Volunteer Fire Department, 1135 Neuse Road, Kinston

·      Wednesday, March 22: Southwood Volunteer Fire Department, 1556 Hwy 58 South, Kinston

·      Thursday, March 23: Sandy Bottom Volunteer Fire Department, 4640 Hwy 55 West, Kinston

All three meetings are set to begin at 7 p.m. To find out which fire district you live in, click below: