|Fire district wants town to give $30,000 break on new station|
|Written by Mark Lineberger|
|Wednesday, 14 April 2010 14:58|
The district is getting close to realizing this goal, but it wants the Town of Camp Verde to waive more than $30,000 in building and impact fees.
The Town Council was quick to cancel $10,595 in impact fees for the district. The fees are used to help offset the impacts of new construction by helping to pay for libraries, parks, law enforcement and the like, but the council agreed that a new fire station wouldn’t have any measurable impact on any of these services.
The council, especially considering how tight the budget is, was more hesitant to give the district a pass on paying $20,274 in building permit fees.
Jack Blum, secretary and treasurer for the fire district, pointed out that since the town doesn’t pay taxes to the district, it would technically have to be billed for any response calls made to town property. The district has billed the town on occasion, averaging out to $423 a year. But that figure grossly underestimates the services the fire district provides to the town, Blum said, including many calls that the district never bills the town for. On top of that, Blum pointed out that the district provides other services to the town, pointing to recent CPR and defibrillator training the district gave to town employees.
“This is all our community,” Blum said. “Times are tight and we don’t want to send a bunch of bills.”
Blum added that billing the town would be an additional burden for district residents, since the town would have to pay with money provided by taxpayers in the first place, many of whom already pay taxes to the district.
Clayton Young, a firefighter with the district, pointed out that waiving the $20,000 in fees would be a one-time event, whereas emergency calls would be an ongoing thing long into the future.
Mayor Bob Burnside said he was concerned in part because the town’s building department funds itself through the fees it collects. It receives no support from the town’s general fund.
Blum said he didn’t think that not paying the fees would result in added significant expenses to the build department employees.
Councilwoman Norma Garrison said she wasn’t opposed to working out a deal with the fire district but would like both sides to cement any arrangement in an agreement, because the council changes every couple of years and the district is hoping to change its governing structure later in the year.
Other members of the council had questions about how waiving the fees would work. Blum suggested that the fire district would likely ask for the fees to be waived whenever the district wanted to build a new station. Councilwoman Robin Whatley said she looked at waiving the fees as a one-time deal, for this station only.
In the end, the council decided that there was still a lot of research to be done before it could agree to waive the building fees.
The council voted to hold a joint work session with the fire district as soon as possible to work out the finer details of potentially reaching a mutual agreement with the fire district.