Fire officials push for new amendment

Published 10:46 pm Tuesday, September 23, 2008

On Nov. 4, rural Chilton County residents will vote on a constitutional amendment that would change the way tax money is distributed among the county’s volunteer fire departments.

In the weeks leading up to the general election, fire officials will be going door to door handing out educational flyers about Local Amendment No. 1. Their purpose is to dissuade myths about a tax increase.

“There’s been some confusion,” Chilton Fire/EMS president Dan Wright said. “Some people are thinking it’s a new tax.”

To the contrary, all the amendment proposes is a redistribution of funding, not a new tax or a tax increase, Wright explained.

“The ordinary citizens will not see anything change as a result of this amendment,” he said.

To briefly address the purpose of the amendment, it would simply divide the tax money up differently so that each individual department received a bigger slice of the pie. The idea is to take the funding that already exists and allocate it more efficiently.

How does it work? Currently, fire departments with a substation are treated as two separate departments, in terms of funding. Under the new system, these departments would receive less funding for substations, thereby freeing up more money for the county’s 14 departments.

Wright urges people to educate themselves on the amendment instead of listening to rumors about it.

“All of the departments are in agreement on this,” he said.

The amendment is available for viewing in its entirety on the Web site or by clicking here. Visitors should click on the link titled “Local Amendment No. 1.”