UNION COUNTY — A plan to improve fire safety and reduce insurance costs for the people of Carlisle got a financial boost from Union County Council this week.
Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve first reading of an ordinance authorizing the issuance and sale of a $310,000 general obligation bond for the Carlisle Fire District. The purpose of the ordinance, which was requested by the Carlisle Fire Control Board, is to help facilitate the construction of a new primary fire station in the Town of Carlisle and a substation in the Goldville/Maybinton area. The construction of the facilities is designed to improve fire protection for the residents of the district and help lower the insurance rates they pay.
Supervisor Tommy Sinclair said the general obligation bond issued for the project is designed to the help the district obtain up to $310,000 from the USDA including a $260,000 Rural Development Loan and a $50,000 Rural Development Grant. Sinclair said that while the district will actually pay back the loan through tax revenue, a bond is required to guarantee the repayment of the loan.
The new fire station and substation are part of a plan approved by council in February. The plan was presented by councilman Frank Hart who represents District 2 including Carlisle. Hart told council that the goals of the plan are to improve the town’s Public Protection Classification rating which currently is a 10 with the target being a rating of 8-9 for residents living within five miles of a fire station, a rating of 7-8 for residents within 1,000 feet of a hydrant, and to extend fire protection to the entire district.
The higher ratings for residents of the Carlisle Fire District are due to the fact that the district’s current fire station — located in the Carlisle Town Hall — has only two bays and no space for a service truck or to store gear. The station must also share space with the town for the storage and repair of town equipment. Hart said the current station is not recognized as such for insurance purposes and therefore residents do not receive credit for living within five miles of a fire station.
The new station, which would be built on land already owned by the fire district in the county’s name, would be a 60-by-40-foot or 80-by-40-foot metal three-bay structure. The substation, which would be built on land either donated or purchase for that purpose, would be a 30-by-40-foot or 40-by-60-foot metal structure.
Hart said the lower insurance premiums that could result from the construction of the new facilities would not only save Carlisle residents money, but also offset the tax increase that would be required to pay the debt service on the USDA Rural Development Loan being sought for the project. He said that debt service on the loan, which will have a 3.25 percent APR and a 20-year term, will require monthly payments of $1,420 or $17,040 a year. This will require raising taxes in the Carlisle Fire District from 10.8 mills — which generates revenue totaling $16,000 a year — to 22 mills which will generate $33,000 a year.
This means that a resident of a home valued at $100,000 will go from paying $43.20 a year in fire taxes to $86.40. However, Hart said that same resident could see the insurance premium they pay decrease from $500 to $375 for an annual savings of $125. He said this means the resident would realize a net savings of $81.80.
Hart said Thursday that it is hoped that construction can begin sometime in either the third or fourth quarter of this year.
Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at email@example.com.