St. Mary's Vol. Fire Depts. Ask for Prop. Tax Increases

By Andrea Shiell, County Times

HOLLYWOOD, Md. (Feb. 7, 2008)—At the Board of County Commissioners budget works session on Tuesday, the Lexington Park Volunteer Rescue Squad (LPVRS) put in their request for a tax rate increase to pay for member benefits such as uniforms (which they currently pay for themselves), physicals, health screenings, background checks, and the construction of a replacement for Station 39, which has outgrown its capacity to serve the area. The Rescue squad is requesting that the current fire and rescue tax rate be increased from 1.1 cents to 2 cents per $100 of assessment.

LPVRS President Ralph Stotler stated in his letter to the commissioners that the increase was justified by the rising cost of operating expenses, which the department projects to increase by close to 50 percent by 2014.

The Mechanicsville Volunteer Fire Department presented its own request at the hearing, calling for a tax rate increase from the current 4.4 cents to 5.1 cents per $100 of assessment. This increase is expected to generate $162,500 in added revenue for the department, which will facilitate the expansion of their current facility and the purchase of upgraded fire apparatus.

The Hollywood Volunteer Fire Department currently receives a tax rate of 1.1 cents per $100 assessment in the 6th Election District, and they are requesting that it be increased by 0.9 cents.

They also receive 0.8 cents per $100 of assessment in the 7th Election District, and they are requesting an increase of one cent. The squad is requesting a tax rate increase to relocate or build a new building on their current lot in the future.

Public hearings will be held in the near future to discuss the impact these rate increases might have on residential and commercial properties serviced by the stations.

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