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Fire dues ordinance could be amended to include mobile homes

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By Bryan Marshall

Local fire departments could see an increase in revenue next year, but not as much as they hoped.
The Grant County Fiscal Court approved the first reading June 17 of an amendment to the fire dues ordinance to include mobile homes with mobile home parks.
The amendment, which will have its second reading July 1, will mean more residents will be paying the $25 fire dues fee the fiscal court passed in May 2012.
“The inclusion of mobile homes will add approximately $15,500 to the revenue for fire departments in 2013,” said Grant County Judge-Executive Darrell Link. “Nevertheless, $187,372 was distributed to the fire departments in 2012, and by adding mobile homes within mobile home parks, it is estimated that over $200,000 will be collected in 2013.”
Residents of Dry Ridge and Williamstown are exempt from the fire dues.
Earlier this year, magistrates Richard Austin, Wanda Crupper Hammons and Bobby Young met with fire chiefs from Dry Ridge, Williamstown, Crittenden, Corinth and Jonesville to review the first year of the fire dues revenue and discuss any changes the chiefs would like to see.
Removing an opt-out clause in the ordinance and increasing the fire dues amount were the two most common suggestions by the chiefs.
“While the popular opinion amongst the chiefs was to increase the dues on real property owners and remove the opt-out clause, the magistrates respectively elected instead to make the ordinance more equitable by including mobile homes in mobile home parks as this was a predominant suggestion by the public when two public hearings were held last year regarding the ordinance,” Link said. “Consequently, there will be no increase to the $25 dues and the opt-out clause will remain as an option.”
However, Link said the fiscal court will re-evaluate the effectiveness of the ordinance annually and adjust it if deemed necessary.
Along with the money generated from the fire dues, Link said the fiscal court also has appropriated an additional $125,000 collectively out of the General Fund to the five fire departments and the Dry Ridge Fire Department ambulance.  
Included in that amount is a $60,000 match to the Corinth Fire Department to purchase a new tanker.
The majority of the remaining $65,000 went to the Corinth and Jonesville fire departments, according to Link.
The fiscal court also is working with the Corinth Rural Fire Board and Corinth Fire Department to obtain a $200,000 grant to construct a new firehouse.
“It was stressed by all of the chiefs at the public hearings held last year that the Corinth Fire Department needed the most financial help because of their out-dated assets, and thus the fiscal court needs to focus on assisting Corinth,” Link said.