New Milford Fire asking for property tax increase to fund equipment upgrades

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The New Milford Fire Department is expecting to face several challenges in the years to come as their aging equipment needs to be replaced. So, they’re proposing a small tax increase.

“We’ve let inflation get ahead of us, without trying to offset that cost,” said Deputy Chief Jon Trail. “We haven’t been able to make a big purchase with fire hose because it’s tripled in cost in the last 15 years. Turnout gear, that we have, has a 10 year shelf life.”

The Fire Department is asking voters to approve a small tax increase on the November ballot.

“What that is going to do is bring our corporate tax up to the same as the ambulance tax,” Trail continued. “So, we will be levying the same rate for both entities, the ambulance side and the fire side.”

This is the first time the fire district is asking for a levy increase to corporate tax in over 30 years.

If passed, it’s expected to generate roughly $32,000. The increase would equate to about $34 a year on a property with a $100,000 assessed evaluation.

“It’s going to provide us an opportunity to provide and continue to strive for the best possible service that we can render to our community,” Trail said.

Regardless of the election results, the department is looking at ways to move forward with residents’ safety as the top priority.

“The last 5 years, we have had a very, very transparent form of management here,” Trail said. “We encourage the community to come into our board meetings and come into our offices as chief officers, and ask  us tough questions. We encourage that.”

The department will also host a pumpkin smash and open house on November 3rd from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the firehouse, at 2177 Will James Road, so the public can ask any questions they have about the referendum.

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