Albany firefighters pushing for tax renewal Saturday
ALBANY - Livingston Fire Protection District 1 is asking voters to renew a fire tax Saturday to keep the district operating.
District 1 covers around 10,000 people in the town of Albany and surrounding area. The tax has been on the books for nearly 20 years. With the state budget crisis and talks about new taxes to raise money, District 1 Chief Joe Foster says taxes are a touchy topic.
"That three letter word tax is just a terrible word right now you know with the budget cuts," he said. "So here at District 1 Albany Volunteer Fire Department we're very concerned that hopefully the people will come out and hopefully we will get this renewal passed this Saturday."
The tax brings in $170,000 each year and supports 80 percent of the district's budget. The money goes toward upgrading equipment, servicing fire hydrants and paying firefighters. The tax also erected a new fire station in Albany in January 2015.
People around town like Albany resident and business owner Boyd Wilder say voting for the tax is a no-brainer.
"We need their services, their rescue. All the help that they do for us is a big help for the community, the fire rating that they produce," he said.
Foster says the area's fire class rating could get worse if the district does not have enough money to operate as usual. A high class rating would then impact home and business owners.
"Right now we have a class four rating. Say if your rating went to 9 that would be $500 extra a year to your homeowners insurance," said Foster.
Firefighters have used social media and gone door-to-door to spread awareness about the need for the tax renewal.