What you need to know about the Scottdale Borough Fire Tax

Fire DepartmentRecently, council voted to approve moving forward on a 2 mil fire tax proposal and some residents have asked why. We thought it would be important to share some background on why the vote to pursue was unanimous.

  • Our fire department (FD) is required to adhere to codes ans standards set by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPS) against which they are audited. (www.nfpa.org)
  • These codes require that specific equipment and training requirements be upheld in order to assure the safety of all.
  • At this time, our fire department has equipment that is out of code and date and must be replaced for a total cost of $449,250. If this equipment is not replaced, and is used, and an injury occurs as the result, our borough could be liable.
  • IMPORTANT: The taxpayers of Scottdale have NOT invested one penny in equipment or training since 1971.
  • The fire department raised all funding on their own to cover required equipment through fundraising, grants, and donations.
  • In recent years, grant resources have been dramatically cut and donations have dried up. Our fire department volunteers find themselves spending more time trying to raise money than to save lives.

How will this tax work?

  • The 2 mil increase will only cover 54K across all borough residents – this comes to an average of $13.50 per resident, per year, or $1.13 per month.
  • The funds will be collected and managed by the Borough Office, who will pay the equipment invoices or reimburse receipts.
  • This tax will NOT cover the entire equipment budget that is needed, it will actually provide only 12% of the total – the balance will be raised by the fire department through other means.
  • The tax is to cover very specific equipment and training requirements – there is no discretionary spending involved.
  • These funds support our unpaid volunteer fire department who put their lives on the line to protect our community. This tax is 100% devoted to cover fire department equipment and no relation to the Firemen’s Club or Association.

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