Higher Fire Tax Rates Proposed In 9 Communities

Residents in nine of the 27 fire districts in Johnston County could be paying higher fire taxes beginning July 1st.   Nine fire departments are requesting an increase in the fire tax rates they charge each year and are included on your annual property tax bills.

The Fire Tax Budget Committee of the Johnston County Board of Commissioners met on Wednesday, June 9th and will meet again today (Thursday, June 10th) at 4:00pm to review the tax increase requests. The committee will make their recommendation to the full board of commissioners for consideration and adoption later this month.

The Cleveland, Corinth Holders, Bethany, Micro, Benson, Brogden, Meadow, Princeton and Kenly Fire Departments have requested increases this year.  The largest increases being sought are in the Princeton and Meadow fire districts. 

The Princeton Fire Department has proposed increasing their fire tax rate from 5 to 10 cents per $100 property valuation.  The Meadow Fire Department is seeking to increase their tax rate from 7 to 11 cents.

Fire Department Current Tax RateProposed New Tax Rate
50-2100.08
Archer Lodge0.09
Banner (Benson)0.100.12
Bentonville0.08
Beulah (Kenly)0.080.10
Blackman’s Cross0.08
Boon Hill (Princeton)0.050.10
Brogden0.080.10
Claytex (Clayton)0.1175
Corinth Holders0.100.11
Elevation0.10
McLemore (Cleveland)0.07250.0825
Meadow0.070.11
Micro0.100.12
Nahunta0.06
Newton Grove0.075
Oakland0.07
O’Neal’s (Antioch)0.08
PI-LE (Pine Level)0.10
Selma0.12
Shoeheel (Bethany)0.100.12
Smithfield0.12
Strickland’s Crossroads0.10
Thanksgiving0.09
West Johnston0.07
Wilson’s Mills0.06
Wynn (Four Oaks)0.08

Johnston County Fire Marshal Adam Stanley said the average home price in Princeton is $215,000.  The average resident who is now paying $106.00 each year will pay $212.00 next year in fire taxes if the increase is approved.

In Meadow, where the average new home price is $208,000, the average cost is $207 per year. The fire tax rate would increase by $41 to $248 annually.    

Fire Marshal Stanley said the primary reason for the increase is for the departments to hire additional personnel to respond to emergency calls.   

Benson Fire Chief Alan Johnson said his agency is seeking a two cents increase from 10 to 12 cents.  The Benson Fire Department currently has two full-time firefighters at the station Monday through Friday from 8am until 5pm. The increase, if approved, would allow the department to have a paid firefighter at the station 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Chief Johnson said there aren’t as many volunteers as they use to be.   

Citizens who have questions about the fire tax rates or the fire tax budget can contact the Johnston County Manager’s Office at 919-989-5100.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Higher Johnston County property values of a11 percent increase and we are still getting our home Bank accounts ripped off by the local government. There is something seriously wrong here in this county? This must be a really bad conversation to not be able to have it talked about?

  2. Get the government OUT of the fire business! No need to have taxes, and just run it like a private business…. if you want fire protection, you’ll pay for it!

    • Mark, You may need to call Your Insurance company concerning response time on fire calls. This could cause a savings or increase on premium.

  3. With all the new homes being built, that should cover more then enough to cover what they are wanting to increase plus much more. This is a crock! There is always someone trying to suck money out of our pockets and I am sick and tired of it. Put this to a vote before the people as I can tell you that the no’s would have it.

    • Well, Steve, have you offered to volunteer your time and services with you local volunteer fire department? Do you have any idea of the sacrifices these people make with respect to their family life, free time, etc. just to help out their neighbors – like you? So you think these people are trying to “suck money out of our pockets.” If you’re really “sick and tired of it,” why don’t you go down to your local station and apply to be a member? You’re right about “all the new homes being built,” that just means there are more calls to answer, more people are needed, more equipment must be available, and let’s not forget about all the training that’s involved – fire department volunteers usually spend their free time at classes taught at the local station, other stations in the county or state, or at the local community college; that’s time they could be spending with their family. Yes, these are just volunteers, but the training needed and required to provide a minimal level of service is the same as full-time professional firefighters. Think about how much higher the cost would be if you had to pay salaries and benefits for all the full-time positions that would be necessary in this county if there weren’t volunteers – and trust me on this, volunteers are getting harder and harder to find; most of the departments in the county are now finding it necessary to put on full-time positions to answer the increasing number of calls during the daytime when the majority of volunteer members are at their regular jobs. And the calls for help go way beyond putting out a fire; our department also answers calls with EMS, responds to motor vehicle accidents that often require specialized equipment and training to remove victims from their vehicle, provides swift water rescue and dive rescue/recovery, and responds to many other situations; and yes, we still sometimes get a call about a cat stuck in a tree – if you don’t know who else to call, you just call the fire department.

      Speaking of the costs, have you priced a fire truck lately? The last truck we purchased was over $500,000, and one truck just won’t cut it – and they eventually wear out and will not meet minimal requirements for service. Those trucks are idle a lot, but when they’re needed, they see hard service. Firefighters must also have protective gear (including coat, pants, boots, gloves, helmet, air supply, etc.), hoses, tools and equipment, communications equipment, and the list just goes on and on. All of these trucks and equipment must constantly be cared for, maintained, and tested to meet federal NFPA and OSHA requirements. And let’s not forget about a building to keep all this equipment and provide space for training and meetings. Yes, “all the new homes being built” are adding to the tax base in most of the western part of the county but that’s not happening everywhere; many departments are seeing some growth (and a substantial increase in call volume), but it just doesn’t provide the money necessary to maintain the standard of service people expect. We have been able to provide a very respectable level of fire protection service in our district using an all-volunteer staff while maintaining the same tax rate for over 50 years, but we just can’t keep up at that rate and provide the level of service our neighbors have come to expect and we demand of ourselves.

      How about it Steve, are you willing to volunteer? Or is just easier to sit back, leave to someone else, and complain about the job they’re doing? In case you’re wondering, yes, I’m a volunteer – and have been for over 40 years.

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