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Volunteer Fire Districts Listening Session is March 10

(March 2, 2020) A listening session will be held on Tuesday, March 10 to discuss fire service delivery and proposed funding options in unincorporated areas of the Charlotte extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ). (See MAP.)

The listening session is hosted by the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners. The event is designed to provide residents and Fire Chiefs an opportunity to ask questions and receive information about possible funding options for fire delivery services in unincorporated areas adjacent to Charlotte.

The following Volunteer Fire Departments currently provide service in the unincorporated Charlotte area:

Carolina Volunteer Fire
Cooks Volunteer Fire
Long Creek Volunteer Fire
Robinson Volunteer Fire
Steele Creek Volunteer Fire
West Mecklenburg Volunteer Fire

The meeting is open to the public. Registration is not required. The meeting will also be livestreamed online at MeckNC.gov.

Event Details

Volunteer Fire Districts Listening Session
Tuesday, March 10 at 6 p.m.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center, Room 267

For more information about the event, contact, Assistant County Manager, Leslie Johnson at 980-314-2900.

The County Commission will be looking at two questions:

1. What are the immediate needs of the Volunteer Fire Departments, and what does the tax rate for 2021 need to be in the Fire Protection Service District?

At a Budget Public Policy meeting of the Mecklenburg County Board of County Commissioners on January 14, county staff made several key recommendations for fiscal year 2021 (beginning July 1, 2020):

  • Increase paid staff from two to three personnel per station.
  • Provide additional funding of $35,000 per station, $85,000 total, for capital needs and miscellaneous expenses.
  • Hold $150,000 in capital funds for a loan to purchase land for a future third station in Steele Creek until strategy is finalized in collaboration with the Charlotte Fire Department.

The 2020 tax rate was 6.67 cents per $100 valuation. To meet the needs in the county’s recommendation, the rate would need to increase to 7.6 cents for fiscal year 2021.

2. What are the long term needs of the Volunteer Fire Departments?

The current finding model is not sustainable. Conmmissioners will consider several issues:

  • County staff will continue discussions with the Charlotte Fire Department regarding the possible city takeover of fire services in some of the smaller districts. (Mecklenburg County currently pays the Charlotte Fire Department to service the Charlotte Rural area.)
  • The Steele Creek Volunteer Fire Department needs to add a station in the Palisades area to adequately serve that area in a timely manner.
  • Mecklenburg County should establish a Fire Commission with representatives from the Volunteer Fire Departments, County Commission, county staff, and the public to review operations and budgets and to make recomendations to the County. See Residents Association Board Supports Formation of a Mecklenburg County Fire Commission.

The For further information about the County Commission's budget discussion, see County Budget Discussion Addresses Volunteer Fire Department Needs.

For a more detailed map showing fire districts and stations countywide, click on the map above or here: Mecklenburg County VFD Boundaries.

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