To the Editor:
On August 9th, Article 1 of the Dorset ballot will ask its voters to approve the inclusion of the fire district budgets in the town budget, in order to equalize the cost of fire protection in Dorset.
The town of Dorset is protected by two fire departments, one in the village of Dorset and a second in the village of East Dorset. Each fire department is overseen by its own prudential committee. These committees are responsible for the budgets of their respective fire departments and levy fire taxes on property owners in their fire districts.
Fire taxes are calculated as a small percentage of property tax. Currently the fire tax rate in East Dorset is significantly higher than in Dorset, due primarily to the fact that Dorset has a much larger grand list (total property value).
If Article 1 is approved, the fire tax rate will become equalized in Dorset and East Dorset. Since both fire departments respond to calls from the entire town, including the villages of Dorset and East Dorset, equalizing fire taxes is fair for all taxpayers in Dorset.
In order to achieve equalization, fire taxes will be included as a part of Dorset property tax bills, instead of in separate fire tax bills. In addition to equalizing taxes, inclusion in our tax bills has a number of other advantages. First of the, money will be saved by the consolidation of billing. Secondly, each fire department will receive their tax revenue sooner. Finally, the fire districts will no longer have to pursue delinquent payments – this responsibility will shift to the town, who is better equipped to handle this.
I urge you to vote YES on Article 1 – its fair and efficient for the taxpayers and fire departments.