Questions concerning the upcoming referendum

  • Who is affected by this proposal?

    • Only residents or property owners within our Fire District will be affected. Our Fire District is a unique boundary that does not necessary follow the school district attendance zones or zip codes. You can verify you your area by checking you tax notice and/ or your voter registration, or call the fire station if you have a question.
  • Why do we have to vote on a tax increase?

    • BSFD is a “Special Purpose District” as designated by state law. Our rate is set directly by the residents of our district. County Council cannot set a permanent rate for our area.
  • Why can’t the County give you more money?

    • BSFD is a separate governmental entity. We are not a division or department of county government. Spartanburg County Council does not budget or allocate funds for our agency. None of our funding come from Spartanburg County’s budget process. We are completely dependent on our community to provide the necessary funding for our services.
  • What is the proposed rate?

    • We are asking for an increase not to exceed 29 mills.
  • What is a Mill?

    • The mill rate is the amount of tax payable per dollar of the assessed value of a property. The mill rate is based on "mills." It is a figure that represents the amount per $1,000 of the assessed value of property, which is used to calculate the amount of property tax.
  • Why do we need an increase?

    Our current rate of 16 mills was set in 1997. At this time we still depended almost completely on volunteers to staff our stations and respond to emergency calls. Since that time our FREE labor pool has evaporated. We have struggled to maintain adequate staffing to respond to an ever increasing demand on our services. Simply put… WE NEED MORE FIREFIGHTERS

  • Why have you waited so long to request an increase?

    • Simply put we haven’t needed it. Our problem right now isn’t paying our bills. It is manpower. We depended greatly on FREE labor or volunteers. We have painfully moved into an era that depends more career staffing and less on volunteers. Our lower tax rate will not support this.For a long period of time our volunteer base, supported by paid crew, provided adequate coverage for our community. Over the years the situation has reversed. Our volunteer response has decreased to the point that while we still strive and work to sustain a volunteer program; we also realize that this program does not provide adequate response for our community.
  • Will new tax assessed values not cover your funding needs?

    • No. The law that requires reappraisal that Spartanburg County just underwent also requires that the there be no “windfall” from reappraisal. The millage rate will “rollback” to prevent undue increases from the reappraisal.
  • How many more people do we need?

    • Right now we need 3 more people per shift for a total of 9 additional Firefighters. This is the minimal number of personnel need to staff a 2nd emergency apparatus at our HQ station.
  • How many people are already working at the Fire Station?

    • Our staffing level is 6 FIREFIGHTERS on duty. These 6 positions are split between 2 stations.
  • Are we utilizing Mutual aid agreements with our neighbors?

    • YES we are. Automatic and Mutual Aid agreements are necessary in the line of work. We will never have enough resources to mitigate large emergencies on our own. However, like us, each of our neighbors are experiencing the same issues of increased call volume with limited manpower. Constantly pulling resources from other areas creates a domino effect in those communities. And Mutual Aid agreements are reciprocal in nature; so when they need help or are shorthanded, they call on us; thus creating a shortage of Firefighters here at home.
  • If our community is growing, why is the growth no covering the expenses that are needed?

    • The simplest answer is the rate is too low. It was set at a time in history when volunteers still provided the bulk of needed services for FREE. Maintaining personnel costs (salary, insurance, retirement, training, protective gear, etc…) and operating costs already stretch the revenue we receive. We simply cannot add staffing without a base rate increase. The type of growth we have experienced and are continuing to experience is a high density, high service demand, and low revenue yield (tightly packed- owner occupied housing).
  • What happens if this is not passed, what affect will it have on our community?

    • It is already happening… we staff a partial crew and typically have multiple calls during peak time of the day. So eventually there is a delay in response or inadequate manpower on the scene during an emergency. As our community grows and more housing and traffic comes in, it will only become a larger more evident problem.
  • How does this rate compare to the other Fire Departments around us?

    • There are 9 fire departments in Spartanburg whose rate exceeds the requested 29 mills. Both Cherokee Springs and North Spartanburg Fire Districts share a “Boiling Springs” address, and are over a 30 mill tax rate.
  • What is this going to cost me?

    • If you home is valued at $200,000 and you own 2 cars around $25,000 each… the total fire tax bill will be approximately $1.00 a day.
    • Types of Property

      Value

      16 Mills

      29 Mills

      Added Taxes

      Home (Owner Occupied)

      $100,000

      $64.00

      $116.00

      $52.00

      Home (Rental)

      $100,000

      $96.00

      $174.00

      $78.00

      Home (Owner Occupied)

      $200,000

      $128.00

      $232.00

      $104.00

      Home (Rental)

      $200,000

      $192.00

      $348.00

      $156.00

      Home (Owner Occupied)

      $300,000

      $192.00

      $348.00

      $156.00

      Home (Rental)

      $300,000

      $288.00

      $522.00

      $234.00

      Car

      $25,000

      $24.00

      $43.50

      $19.50

     

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