The Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners held its final vote April 3 to move forward with the fire tax that would create funding for unincorporated areas.  The tax rate has not yet been decided, but Fire Marshal Mark Auten says it will be between 4.5-7 cents per $100 based on property value.
This affects the Extraterritorial Jurisdiction, or ETJ, of Mint Hill and not the incorporated Town of Mint Hill.  People living within the town currently pay taxes that support the fire department.  The taxes collected will require ETJ residents to pay taxes at the same level as town residents.
“It makes a lot of sense,” says Auten.  “The people receiving the service will pay for it.”
Right now Mint Hill residents inside and outside of the town limits are equally protected but paying different rates.
Currently, fire departments receive support from the county’s general fund.  The fire tax will create a new fund for each town’s ETJ.
Mecklenburg County is not alone in adopting a fire tax for unincorporated jurisdictions.  Auten estimates that 98 out of North Carolina’s 100 counties use the same system.
The final vote comes in after years of discussion.  The tax will be in effect July 1, and the county will receive the money after the end of the year.