GARLAND — Following a special meeting, officials are in limbo about granting requests to the town’s fire department.
Commissioners recently discussed two proposals from the Garland Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department. One is $138,000 for Sampson County and the second was a $38,900 request for Garland. During the gathering, there was a consensus that the department may be double-dipping when it came to seeking funds for the upcoming 2016-2017 fiscal year.
As an example, the department requested $10,000 from Garland for a building payment and $41,000 from Sampson County for the same expenditure.
“A lot of this is duplicated,” Mayor Winifred Murphy said about other multiple requests, such as water and sewer.
Winifred also stressed that rural fire district residents are already paying 10 cents extra for taxes.
“So this is what the $138,000 equals to,” she said. “So they will get this anyway.”
Murphy added that Garland is giving the department $5,000. But the department is searching for a lot more. In March, Fire Chief Thomas Norris presented several requests. One of the biggest included a 10 cents tax per $100 valuation on personal and real estate property. The other requests included $3,000 a year for rescue services; free water, sewer and garbage collection.
At the March meeting, Norris brought up how people in Garland are not paying the same amount of taxes and fire insurance as those living outside of town.
Also, the town is dealing with other issues such as trying to find leader for its public works department, contracts with the Sampson County Sheriff’s Department and a approved increase in the water and sewer fees for residents.
“I just can’t act on it,” said Commissioner Ralph Smith at the meeting.
While addressing the matter, Commissioner Judy Smith believes the request to county officials should be decreased, since they’re asking more from the town.
A vote was not taken for the request and was tabled for a upcoming meeting, before budgets are finalized.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.