Spring residents could face tax increase

April 27, 2010 4:52:13 PM PDT
In Spring, volunteer firefighters say a small tax increase could make a big difference. The department is planning to add stations and fire trucks, but some residents are not happy with the plan. The Spring Volunteer Fire Department says they need more money to build fire stations and add fire trucks. But some residents are not sold on the idea.

With a fire station, just down the block from their daughter's home, the Nayhorns enjoy a certain level of peace of mind. But just mention a possible tax hike and that's when the peace goes out the door.

Homeowner Van Nayhorn said, "Right now I just don't think they need to raise taxes on anything for any purpose."

The Spring Volunteer Fire Department is seeking a tax cap increase that would fund some of its needs -- things like replacing outdated equipment and the construction of brand new fire stations. Fire Chief Alan Lankford says Spring has seen a population boom over the years and they're simply trying to keep up.

"I think we've been playing catch-up over the last 10 years," said Chief Lankford. "The station we're building on Loetta is replacing a station that is over 40 years old."

The fire department is solely supported through taxes under its emergency services district. It's that board that would be the one which would set the rate. Under the current tax, a person whose home is valued at $100,000 pays $60 towards the fire department. If that increases two cents per $100 that would mean the same homeowner would pay $80 a year.

Homeowner Brittany Wessel said, "I think if it helps protect us, like if there was a fire, I think that's for a good cause. But if it's not going help increase our safety, I don't really see a reason in it getting raised."

The chief acknowledges that if the rate is not increased, safety will not be compromised. But he says some things will have to be stretched or delayed. He says, ultimately, the voters need to decide what kind of department they want as the area moves forward.

Chief Lankford said, "It's about service. So hopefully the people in the district ESD 7 will see it's a necessity."

It's not just voters weighing in on this proposal Late Tuesday afternoon, I spoke with board member Richie Rankel. He's against the increase, telling me he just doesn't feel it's in the best interest of the community. Early voting on this issue continues until May 5, and voting day is May 8

We worked on this story through our partnership with Houston Community Newspapers. You can read more in the Spring Observer.


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