Fire District No. 1 looks to increase taxes

Apr 12, 2018

Fire District No. 1’s Prudential Committee is proposing a 23 percent tax hike to fund a costly equipment replacement project.

The tax is proposed to be raised from 39 cents per $1,000 to 49 cents per $1,000 of each property within the district. District No. 1 covers Padanaram, Bliss Corner, southeastern Dartmouth, and portions of Tucker Road.

It’s all because the fire department needs to replace its soon-to-be expired air tanks.

“We have to buy these, they have to spend the money, we have no choice,” committee member John Haran said.

It was the biggest ticket item in the budget.

Committee members had the option of making the tax increase only 44 cents and taking surplus cash to supplement some of the expense.

However, in order to grow its funds for the replacement of another fire truck in the future and keep money for unforeseen incidents, the committee decided to do the slightly more expensive tax rate.

This would mean if something were to unexpectedly happen it then would be a major increase on the taxpayers.

Dartmouth's three fire districts are each operated independent of the town. The districts have the authority to set and collect its own taxes from property owners within its respective district to fund departments.

Unlike the town, the fire districts are not subject to the state's Proposition 2 1/2 limitations on tax increases.

The budget will head to the district's annual meeting for final approval by voters. The annual meeting is on May 9 at 6:30 p.m. at the 10 Bridge Street station.

In other budget news...

The committee voted against Chief Brad Ellis’ proposal to add a full-time fire prevention officer for the district.

Ellis, who had previously been a fire prevention officer, said the new officer would attend schools to teach children fire safety. They would also be involved in ongoing construction projects in town to ensure projects meet required codes.

However, the committee said it would not move forward with the proposal without looking at a long-range plan first.