MARTINSBURG The Martinsburg Fire District will likely go up in flames.
Local officials plan to dissolve the district with the intent of more evenly charging town residents for fire protection.
The fire district is just a legal entity that we dont need anymore, said Martinsburg Supervisor Terry J. Thisse.
The Martinsburg Fire Department was formed as a district that basically encompassed parcels within the hamlet, Mr. Thisse said.
Now, along with collecting money from the fire district, the town collects fire protection money from all non-district residents on behalf of both the Martinsburg and 3G fire departments.
According to the 2011 town budget, the town in January collected $3,700 from the fire district. That amounted to 76 cents per $1,000 of assessed value.
Meanwhile, taxpayers outside the district, not counting Maple Ridge Wind Farm, paid $29,076 for fire protection. That amounted to 44 cents per $1,000.
The wind farm, which is exempt from taxes but not fire protection funding, paid an additional $48,419 to the fire departments.
Eliminating the fire district, which has its own five-member board, will get rid of a bureaucratic layer and avoid the extra charge for hamlet residents, Mr. Thisse said.
Any lost revenue by the Martinsburg fire department could be made up through a small increase in fire protection funding, if needed, he said.
Were fortunate to have very good fire coverage, Mr. Thisse said.
The Martinsburg Fire District board approved the move and several other steps, including a public hearing, have already taken place, he said.
Legal notice of the move was published Aug. 10, and it is expected to take effect next month unless it is challenged within 30 days of publication.