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Durbin Council lends support to fire fee proposal

At the Durbin Town Council meeting November 13, councilmember Mike Vance explained the proposed fire fee county fire departments presented at a recent county commission meeting. Vance, who is also a member of the Bartow-Frank-Durbin Volunteer Fire Department, asked council for a letter of support in order to assist with approval of the fee.

“We talk about, if every resident would donate, it wouldn’t be a problem,” Vance said. “We only get back about thirty percent of the donation letters we send out. If we go buy a truck or air packs or something – it’s seven thousand dollars to suit up a new guy. A truck’s two-hundred thousand. It’s a lot of money and overhead. We were just looking to help with some of the costs.”

The proposed fee would be $60 a year for dwellings, including second homes, and $100 a year for commercial properties. Vance said, for individual homes, the cost equals out to five dollars a month.

“That’s pretty reasonable for doing this fire fee,” he said. “Then we won’t send donation letters out. But, if people still want to donate, they can still mail a donation letter in. It will generate right around ninety-five thousand dollars a year that will come in to the fire departments.”

If it passes, the fee will be collected by the county tax office and then given to the Pocahontas County Fire Board, which will divide the funds among the county’s six fire departments.

Vance added that if the fire fee is enacted, after six years, the Fire Board will not need the $50,000 hotel/motel tax it receives each year from the county commission.

Council approved to write a letter in support of the fire fee. Vance and councilmember Shelia Varner abstained from the vote because they are both members of the BFD Fire Department.

In other news:

• Mayor Donald Peck mentioned the filing period for the 2015 Election. The filing period is December 1 through December 12.

“Just to let people know in this town, if they’re interested in keeping this town going, put your name in,” Peck said. “If you’re not satisfied with the governing body now, put your name in and run. Get interested in your town. If not, you’re going to lose it.”

• Councilmember Shirley Tracey suggested the town have a Christmas parade this year. Council agreed and said it would discuss the plan further. A date for the parade was not set.

The Christmas lights contest will be judged December 20. The town will give prizes: first place, $75; second place, $50; and third place, $25.

• Garbage pickup for the week of Thanksgiving will be Wednesday and Friday.

Durbin Town Council meets the second Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Durbin Town Hall.

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