CARLISLE — A plan set into motion by the Union County Council on Tuesday will mean increased protection and annual savings for the residents of Carlisle.
Frank Hart — county council member for District 2 — explained the key goals of the proposed plan for the Carlisle Fire District:
- To improve the town’s PPC (Public Protection Classification) rating, which is currently a 10
- To target a rating of 8-9 for residents within five miles of a fire station
- To target a rating of 7-8 for residents within 1,000 feet of a hydrant
- To extend fire protection to the entire district
The current Carlisle Fire Station — located at Carlisle Town Hall — has only two bays available and no space for a service truck. Hart said it is difficult to organize the space as it is shared with the town for storage and repair of town equipment. There is also a lack of storage for gear.
“It is not recognized as a fire station for purposes of insurance,” Hart said, explaining that residents are not currently receiving credit for living within five miles of a fire station.
The proposed plan includes building a primary station — a 60-by-40-foot or 80-by-40-foot metal three-bay structure — within the Town of Carlisle, using existing property owned by the fire district in the county’s name. The plan will also call for the construction of a substation — a 30-by-40-foot or 40-by-60-foot metal structure — in the Goldville-Maybinton area on land that is either donated or purchased.
The next question to be answered was how the project would be funded. The plan suggests securing a USDA Rural Development Loan for $250,000 with a 3.25 percent APR and 20-year term. The plan also suggests securing a USDA Rural Development Grant for $50,000. Hart then explained how the debt of the loan would be serviced.
The debt service would mean a monthly payment of $1,420, which comes to $17,040 annually. This will require a tax increase for residents of the Carlisle Fire District, but the tax increase will be outweighed by the savings residents will gain in the way of insurance premiums.
The current fire district millage is 10.8, which comes to $16,500 in annual revenue for the district. The plan proposes doubling the millage to 22, which would mean $33,000 in annual revenue.
“This allows us to service debt and continue operation costs,” Hart said.
Hart, who is an Allstate agent, said he worked with his counterpart — District 6 council member and State Farm agent Kacie Petrie — to come up with numbers regarding the savings in insurance premiums for residents of the district. Hart used an example of a home valued at $100,000 to illustrate the savings. A resident of such a home would currently pay $43.20 in fire taxes, and the proposed millage increase would double the fire taxes to $86.40. Assuming a 25 percent variation in premiums for the town if the PPC rating drops from a 10 to a 9, a home valued at $100,000 would go from paying a premium of $500 to paying a premium of $375 — an annual savings of $125. Factoring in the additional tax cost to the customer of $43.20, the customer would still see a net savings of $81.80.
“This absolutely proves that landowners are better off to improve their fire service,” said County Supervisor Tommy Sinclair.
The Carlisle Fire Control Board requested that council approve a motion to proceed with initiating a bond process which would allow the board to apply for the USDA funding. The next recommended steps include the first reading of the ordinance on February 20, the advertisement of a public hearing on February 21, a tentative second reading on March 4 and a public hearing/third and final reading on March 12. Funds would potentially become available in mid-May.
Council member Tommy Ford made a motion to proceed with the proposed plan; the motion was seconded by council member Ben Ivey; and the motion was unanimously approved by council.
Staff Writer Derik Vanderford can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 29, or by email at email@example.com.