Fire tax campaign underway in Adams County

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Oct 29, 2013 5:00 AM

(Straban Township) --


A study in Adams County earlier this year recommended a fire tax to help pay for services throughout the county.

The .25% tax would cost someone with a $100k house $50/year for fire protection.

Advocates say it will help stabilize the finances of the fire departments in the county.

But at meetings across the county, some municipalities are questions about whether such a tax is enforceable - if a house is burning in an area where the tax isn't imposed, do firefighters just ignore it?

Sharon Hamm is chair of the Fire Funding committee for the county's Council of Governments.

She says she doesn't have all the answers.

"I don't know how it'll pan out. I don't know if departments might play hard ball on those municipalities and basically tell them they won't supply them with the services. I don't know, that might happen, it could. Something has to happen."

But she also sees a side benefit.

"One, it helps get money to the departments. And the other really, really important component of all of this, is increased communication and collaboration with the departments. That's something that's been just about nonexistent. I'm guessing Adams County is not very different from any other county."

Hamm says some municipalities may not actually hike taxes, but instead find the money through their general budget.

She says only one borough is officially a part of the tax so far, Fairfield, but expects more to jump in soon.

Published in Adams County, News

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