Residents of McLure will vote June 23 on whether the McLure Fire Department should become a TNRD-operated service.
About 30 people attended an information meeting in the fire hall Thursday night (May 24, 2018) as a follow-up to a meeting April 4 at which there was strong support for holding a referendum on the issue.
Due to liability concerns and changes in provincial regulations, the TNRD decided earlier this year to cease collecting taxes for society-run fire departments at the end of 2022. The McLure fire board then applied to the TNRD to come under its wing.
At Thursday’s meeting, TNRD reps explained the background to the situation, financial implications for homeowners, and the referendum process.
Finance director Doug Rae said the annual operating budget is expected to be about $150,000 based on experience with other fire departments in the region. Currently, residents within the McLure fire service area pay a total of a little under $40,000.
The higher expected costs are due to administration, training and an annual $20,000 contribution into a capital reserve fund for future needs including replacement of a fire truck in 2025.
Rae said the operating budget may come in less than the maximum $150,000, and any unspent money would remain with the McLure department.
The referendum question will be, “Are you in favour of the Thompson-Nicola Regional District adopting Bylaw No. 2649 for the purpose of establishing the McLure fire protection service area within a portion of Electoral Area ‘P’ (Rivers and the Peaks) with a maximum annual tax requisition for operating costs of $150,000 or $2.618/$1,000 of net taxable value of land and improvements, whichever is greater?”
Rae said the residential rate per $1,000 would be $2.1724. A home assessed at the average $307,494 would pay $668,00 a year for fire protection compared to the current $176, an increase of $492.
He said the tax increase is likely less than the increase in fire insurance would be without fire protection, but that’s not a certainty and residents should talk to their brokers.
An advance voting day will be held June 13 and general voting day June 23. Mail-in voting will also be allowed.
— Mel Rothenburger, Director, Electoral Area P, TNRD