McLURE — Residents will face a tax increase of about $44 per year for the average home within the fire protection zone.
About two dozen residents attended a meeting at the McLure Fire Hall on Wednesday (Feb. 24, 2016) to listen to details of the increase.
Paula Cousins, president of the McLure Volunteer Firefighters and Recreation Association, explained that equipment and training costs are rising due to more stringent provincial requirements under the new “Playbook,” the document that outlines standards for fire departments.
She also said the McLure department needs to build a contingency fund for emergency purposes. The McLure fire department is funded through a tax levy by the TNRD in the fire protection service area.
The association’s board is asking the TNRD to increase the annual operating budget to $39,432 to cover the rise in costs.
Cousins pointed out that living in a fire protection zone saves homeowners several hundred dollars a year.
Several upgrades to the hall have been done in the past couple of years, including a new furnace funded with federal gas tax money and movie night equipment funded with a United Way grant.
The association will also apply for gas tax funding for new insulation and siding.
I attended the meeting along with TNRD finance director Doug Rae and community services director Ron Storie.
Increased training costs are a concern to many volunteer fire departments in the province, and regional districts have asked the provincial government to provide assistance or to support making fire department training and equipment eligible for gas tax funding.