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Fire tax on primary in Duplin County

(WITN)
Published: Jan. 22, 2020 at 8:44 PM EST
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Voters in Duplin County will see a new fire tax listed on the ballot in the upcoming March elections.

Duplin county has 22 fire departments in total, most of then volunteer. Fourteen of those departments have asked that the county add a fire tax in their districts. It would be added to annual county property tax.

Most of the departments are asking for around 7 cents per 100 dollars in home value.

Fire chiefs say the ever-increasing costs to run their mainly volunteer-operated departments leaves them to work with outdated equipment, which can become dangerous. They say they support themselves largely on fundraiser money, but that is becoming more challenging. They also say better supported departments are recognized as safer by insurance companies, and therefore could lower home insurance costs.

Garry Murphy with the Rose Hill Fire Department says, "The word tax scares them to death, and I understand that. We understand that, but it's going to weigh itself out. If it passes, what they're going to be paying for the fire tax probably will be the same or even less than what they're paying for their fire insurance."

The tax would impact people living outside city limits, which Duplin County firefighters say is where they respond to most of their calls.