I am very pleased to report that all six council members now agree that the city is NOT going to "merge" with the county. There is also unanimous agreement among the Canton City Council that at least two additional fire stations must be built. The first will be at or near Laurel Canyon and the second at Canton Marketplace.
The city has taken the first step with the creation of the fire protection district. The State of Georgia Constitution "permits special districts to be created for the provision of local government services within such districts, and permits, fees, assessments, and taxes to be levied and collected within such districts to pay the cost of providing such services within the district." In this case, the entire city is the district. The majority of council agrees that this is the best method to collect the needed funds.
The decision now before us is how to pay for the two stations and their associated operating costs? In other words, how do we fund the district?
The cost to build one new station is $750,000. To build two new fire stations, we need to raise $1.5 million. We already have the land for both stations. We already have the fire engine and support trucks for one additional station. The cost for a new engine and support vehicles for the second station is $500,000. Therefore, we need to raise a total of $2 million for two new fire stations, one new engine and support vehicles.
The cost to fully staff one station runs between $500,000 and $600,000, therefore we need about $1.1 million annually to staff the two new stations. This includes the turnout gear for each firefighter.
The Laurel Canyon station is needed immediately. The Marketplace station will be needed in two to three years or by the opening of the new hospital.
Thus far, no funding decisions have been made. A myth has been floating around that the senior property tax exemption has been reduced or eliminated. This is simply not true. Nothing whatsoever has changed with the exemption. There are several options on the table for funding the district, none of which touches the exemption. The exemption was created by referendum and can be changed only by referendum.
In my opinion, it would be reasonable for all property owners to pay something, most likely, about $25 per year for a $50,000 house and $250 per year for a $500,000 house.
Canton City Council member Glen Cummins, who voted against the creation of a special fire district, clarified his position Monday in an email to colleagues.
The City Council has voted to maintain control under the city umbrella of
This does not imply that I agree that the creation of a Fire District is the best way to fulfill that goal of expanding and improving services. The Mayor
- Council Overrides Mayor's Veto, Resident Wants 5 Members Recalled
- Special Meeting to Address Mayor's Veto
- After Veto, City Schedules Meeting
- Email: 'We Believe We Can Offer an Exemption'
- Canton Mayor Vetoes Fire District Plan
- Mayor: Fire District Veto 'Likely'
- Mayor: Fire District Is a 'Scheme'
- Fire Department Consolidation Vote Fails