The news is good, in part, for Victor residents living in the Fishers Fire District. While their fire district taxes jumped 16 percent this year, at least they're not paying twice for fire protection.
VICTOR — The news is good, in part, for Victor residents living in the Fishers Fire District. While their fire district taxes jumped 16 percent this year, at least they're not paying twice for fire protection.
A question raised by Strong Road resident Neil Stein at a Oct. 24 public hearing before the Victor Town Board asked whether residents living in the western-most part of Victor have to pay both Victor Fire District and Fishers Fire District taxes.
At the time, Supervisor Jack Marren said yes — Fishers Fire District residents pay both Fishers and Victor fire departments for fire protection, and have for some time. Attendees balked.
But in a statement issued Friday, Marren reversed that comment. Further investigation of the tax bills and consultation with the Town Assessor and the Receiver of Taxes revealed there is no double taxation for fire services, he said.
Residents located in the Fishers Fire District only pay the Fishers Fire District taxes, and residents located in the Victor Fire Protection District only pay the Victor Fire Protection District taxes, the statement said. These respective taxes are clearly itemized on all Victor property tax bills.
Fire protection for town residents within the all-volunteer Victor Fire Protection District will cost $511,299, a 5 percent increase over $488,182 in 2016. Fishers residents will pay a tax levy of $3,064,030 — a 20 percent jump from 2016 for protection by the paid and volunteer fire district.
Why the massive difference? Fishers hired eight new career firefighters at various points in 2016. Driving the hires was a rapidly growing residential and commercial community and a shrinking number of volunteer firefighters. Over the last 10 years, the volunteer ranks have dropped from 37 in 2001 to 10 or fewer today.
The district covers 23 square miles, or about 60 percent of the Town of Victor, and includes about 1,900 homes, five miles of the New York State Thruway, two miles of Route 490, and light industrial and commercial corridors on routes 96 and 251 that are home to large properties like Eastview Mall and Pinnacle Athletic Campus.
Rawson Road resident Jerry Colyer urged board members on Oct. 24 to think about creating a special tax district for businesses on the Route 96 corridor, which create a high demand on Fishers Fire District personnel.
“About 70 or 80 percent of the calls made by the Fishers Fire Department are at the (Eastview) Mall or the Thruway,” said Colyer. “Why are we in the Fishers Fire District paying for the mall? It seems like a no-brainer to me.”
Marren said he plans to urge Fishers Fire District to have its attorney look into creating a Route 96 corridor special tax district, to ease the burden for residents.