Volunteer firefighters seek financial support

Published 6:30 am Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Volunteer firefighters in Pike County could finally be getting new equipment after a county commission vote Monday night.

Pike County commissioners agreed to approve a resolution to request legislators to take action on drafting, submitting and passing a local act for the assessment and levy of a 2 mill increase in ad valorem taxes. The resolution also stated that the local legislation would be subject to a referendum.

The cities of Troy and Brundidge would be excluded from the tax.

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“We are at the point that the money we get now barely covers operating expenses,” said Ray Armstrong with the Pike County Volunteer Firefighters Association. “The money would go to buying equipment for the eight volunteer fire departments in the county.”

Armstrong said the newest fire truck in the county is a 2003, but the oldest is a 1966. He also said the county really needs tanker trucks because water lines aren’t readily available in many portions of the county.

A quick reference to what taxpayers would be contributing if the legislation were to pass is about $20 for property with an assessed value of $100,000.

“We are providing service, right now, at no cost,” Armstrong explained. “But if we didn’t do fund-raisers, we wouldn’t be able to even make it.”

Ninety percent of the funds would go to the Pike County Firefighters Association and 10 percent would be given to the Pike County Revenue Commissioner for tax administration-related purposes.

There are more than 100 volunteer firefighters in Pike County, according to Armstrong. He said their safety, as well as the safety of county residents, is at stake.

“Most people probably won’t even be paying $20,” Armstrong said. “But even that is a small price to pay for protection.”

The council vote was unanimous.