• By Todd Luck
  • Posted Monday, January 28, 2019

County seeks public input on fire overlay tax district

The community is invited to attend information sessions and give feedback on a proposed fire service district overlay tax for those served by Forsyth County’s volunteer fire departments.

Last year, county commissioners added a 0.36 cent fire tax to areas served by the county’s rural volunteer fire departments in response to a request from fire chiefs to fund additional fire suppression services that support volunteer departments countywide. This was a temporary measure since there wasn’t enough time to establish an overlay tax district and get that enhanced revenue in the 2018-2019 budget.

Now county commissioners are considering implementing a tax overlay system over the entire volunteer fire system. This would remove the current 0.36 cent tax and add that 0.36 cent tax to the overlay district. Those who are currently paying the tax will not see an increase in their taxes.

This will not take remove any money from local volunteer fire departments. The revenue generated from the tax goes to supplemental manpower that can arrive on scenes throughout the county. This enhances response time and provides trained personnel for labor intensive events like fires, rescues, medical calls and other emergencies.

This tax only affects those served by volunteer fire departments. Those within the city limits of Winston-Salem, Kernersville, Walkertown, Rural Hall and King will not be affected by this tax because they are served by municipal fire departments.

“We want to be up front with what is going on, so we can educate the public about what’s going to occur,” said Forsyth County Fire Marshal Gary Styers.

The remaining public information meetings, which take place at 6:30 p.m,. will be held:

  • Monday, Jan. 28, at Union Cross Fire Dept, 4401 High Point Road, Kernersville
  • Tuesday, Jan. 29, at Belews Creek Fire Dept, 7675 Belews Creek Road, Belews Creek
  • Thursday, Jan. 31, at Lewisville Fire Dept, 216 Lewisville-Clemmons Road, Lewisville
  • Questions or comments can also be sent to Styers by email email.

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