LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Two eastern Jefferson County fire districts could soon merge to one large district, but it may cost residents more on their taxes.
The Middletown Fire District and Anchorage Fire and EMS are in talks to merge, making a coverage area of more than 53,000 people. But to make the proposal a reality, the tax rate could be raised 15 cents for residents in those areas, which would total about $140 a year.
“I am not convinced that it is worth the extra $144 a year on my taxes that I am going to have to pay,” said Tom Sanderfoot, who has lived in Middletown for 27 years.
On Tuesday night more than 100 people met at the Middletown Fire District’s Urton Lane station to give community input and discuss the merger. That fire station would become the headquarters of the two districts.
Middletown currently has three fire stations and one training facility. Anchorage Fire and EMS has one station, which assists the city’s 2,300 residents.
“Nothing is going to change here or in Middletown,” said Chief Mike Heilman with Anchorage Fire and EMS. “(We’re) still providing the same service, just a little bit quicker and closer.”
Heilman said two new ambulances would be added, at a cost of $230,000 each, and six paramedics would be added.
In exchange for the tax increase:
- Response times would be faster thanks to two additional ambulances,
- The response system would be more reliable
- Up to six new firefighters or paramedics would be added
- There would be a local control of resources focusing on the Middletown and Anchorage districts.
- Enhanced financial stability
- Greater ability to meet community needs
- Increased potential to maintain the lowest insurance premiums available
Heilman said. no job cuts will happen, only additions to staff.
The fire district board will vote possibly next week, and the proposal will go to Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer’s office for approval. The merger could be completed as soon as March 1 with a tax approval by July.
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