Residents in unincorporated areas of Mecklenburg County may be forced to pay a new fire tax.
Mecklenburg County's Fire Marshal’s Office is concerned funding will be an issue in the future, especially for struggling volunteer departments, so they are proposing five fire districts tax residents and businesses in the unincorporated areas of Cornelius, Davidson, Huntersville, Mint Hill and Charlotte.
Jenny Lead lives right outside of Davidson's limits and did not know about the proposed tax until she was told about it by reporters. Lead said the idea comes with terrible timing in light of the recent property revaluations.
"I can tell you most people in this area will freak out because our property taxes just skyrocketed," she said.
Homeowner Steve Ridge said he is not opposed to paying for protection.
"There was a brush fire in our neighbor's back yard just across the street here last year and a bunch of fire trucks came out," Ridge said.
According to the fire marshal, departments handle about 20,000 calls a year in the unincorporated areas.
The new tax would create a stable source of funding, but commissioners shot down the idea once before in 2008.
Residents and business owners would face a 4.5-cent tax for every $100 of their property's assessed value. For example, the owner of a $200,000 house would owe about $90 a year.
Davidson fire officials did not want to comment until commissioners decide whether to approve the fee.
Lead said she wished public meetings happened where people feel the financial hit, instead of at the government center in uptown Charlotte.