After a last minute appeal from for a larger allocation in the Salisbury Township board of commissioners voted unanimously to propose a .25-mill increase to the township’s fire apparatus tax.
If approved, the increase will bring the fire tax to .55 mills, the equivalent of an additional $25 from each taxpayer, or an additional $125,000 to the fund used for fire equipment.
For this year’s general operating fund, “we asked for $12,500 and only got $8,000,” said Eastern Salisbury Assistant Fire Chief and President Dave Tomcics. “This year we have foregone $6,000 in repairs because the money isn’t in the budget.”
“We spend over 8,000 hours donating our time to help the residents,” said Tomcics. To get the money to operate and equip a fire company, “the days of selling hoagies are over.”
For next year’s budget, the fire company requested $25,000 for its operating budget and $12,500 for truck repair, but was only allocated $20,000 and $8,000, respectively.
Tomcics urged the board to be proactive instead of reactive, and reminded commissioners that four fire trucks (two in Eastern Salisbury Fire Co. and two in Western Salisbury Fire Department) are due for replacement soon.
Commissioners President James Brown agreed. “At this point there is not enough money in [the new budget] to cover what you need, and I think, speaking for the board, you deserve everything you can get,” he said.
Proposed budget allocations for are $38,000 for operating expenses, and $25,000 for repairs.
Both departments will benefit from the proposed increase in the fire tax, which is to be used only for the purchase of fire apparatus.
Commissioners will vote on the proposed fire tax increase at their next meeting on Dec. 22, when they also will vote to approve a final version of next year’s $11 million budget.