By Jimmie Earls
Sun Staff Writer
While it may not be your typical “fire sale”, the Springfield – Washington County Fire Protection District is offering a 50-percent rebate on the annual fire fee to qualifying district residents. To get half off the annual $45 fee, residents must file paperwork stating that they meet the qualifications for low or fixed income.
"They have to pay the fee up front when they pay their property tax," said Springfield Fire Chief John Goatley. "When they get their paid tax receipt, they can get the necessary paperwork from the sheriff's office and send it to us along with a copy of their receipt. If the paperwork is in order and they qualify, we'll send them a check."
While the refund of $22.50 may not sound like much, it could mean a lot to those who are on limited income and those for whom every dollar counts.
The fire district is planning to build a new fire station in Springfield later this year. Goatley said he has been checking into government grants to provide a bulk of the funding, but some of the money for the new building comes from the fire fee. According to Goatley, annual collections for the fire fee amount to approximately $100,000 and the fire district receives about 25 requests for the rebate per year.
"Some years, it's not even that many," Goatley added. "It all depends on who wants to use a first class stamp to get that money back. Some people just don't want to mess with filling the paperwork out. There's not really that many that apply, so the impact on our budget isn't that significant. If we owe them the money, we'll give it back because that's just the right thing to do."