Volunteer fire departments throughout Iredell County are in line to receive a significant increase in funding as a result of the countywide property revaluation.

During the Board of County Commissioners’ recent budget retreat, county officials outlined funding plans for the departments. Each department stands to receive a 23 percent increase in funds for operations, and the county will continue to fund apparatus and equipment needs.

Commissioners implemented an all-county fire service district in 2020. In the proposed budget for 2023-2024, the all-county fire tax, which funds the fire service, is slated to remain at 9 cents per $100 valuation. The estimated 40 percent increase in property values will drive the increase in revenues.

VFD Funding Requests

Four volunteer fire departments were represented during the May 15 retreat, including Cool Springs, Ebenezer, South Iredell and West Iredell. They attended the meeting to make additional funding requests. Lake Norman was not present, but made a request at a later time.

The requests totaled about $2.6 million.

♦ Cool Springs requested about $641,600 to fund a pay increase, increased weekend hours, training reimbursement, officer stipend, fire chief raise and training center.

♦ Ebenezer requested about $150,000 to fund increased staffing on nights and weekends and parking lot repairs.

♦ South Iredell asked for about $198,000 to fund additional coverage on weekdays, weeknights and weekends, as well as a parking lot expansion and interior repairs and upgrades.

♦ West Iredell requested about $267,000 for call reimbursement, training reimbursement, a part-time night position, a full-time night position and land clearing.

♦ Lake Norman’s request for $1,409,000, which was made at the regular Board of Commissioners’ meeting, was for additional staff per shift, turnout gear, Self Containing Breathing Apparatus and parking lot repairs.

Service Agreements

Harmony, Lake Norman, Mt. Mourne and Trinity volunteer fire departments have not signed their service agreement contract to receive their funding allotment from the county for the 2023-2024 Fiscal Year.

According to Cool Springs VFD Chief Andy Webster, some fire chiefs have stated that their board or board chairman wants to review the contract before they sign it. Others have not given a reason as to  why they have not signed the contract yet.

Commissioners discussed with County Attorney Lisa Valdez if the county has to fund the fire departments if they don’t sign the contract.

Valdez explained that the current contract expires June 30. Any department that does not sign the contract will not receive funding, Valdez said.