1. #1
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    Question Fire Dues/ Membership Fees?

    I am on a small fire department on Western Ky. We get our funding form Fire Dues. Some may call them Membership Fees. We have tried to do a fire tax but that got voted down. And now are trying other options on funding. In the past we have send out fire dues. In the past few months we have seen this drop in the amount of funding. We have been kicking around the Ideal of raising the amount of dues a person owes. Right now we charge 30 bucks for each property... I was wanting to know what others are charging? 30 bucks here is what most of the other departments in this area are doing... Was just trying to see what others are charging?

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    my good person .............I am sorry to hear that you are having to raise finds and worry about funding using this method. I hope you can urge your FD, residents, and elected officals to try it again so you dont end up like this. GOOD LUCK !
    IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
    Pardon me sir.. .....but I believe we are all over here !
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    I'm sorry, I haven't been paying much attention for the last 3 hours.....what were we discussing?
    "but I guarentee you I will FF your arse off" from>
    http://www.firehouse.com/forums/show...60#post1137060post 115

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    Default I hope it does not come to that....

    I sure hope it does not come to that. We do respond to nonpaying members and fight there fires. But Kentucky law gives use the rigth to charge them 500 dollars if they have not paid there membership fee. Which we do. But sometimes we end up have to turn it over to the courts to collect the money. It just seem like there should be a better way to get money for a fire department. We work off a $24,000 a year. This just gets us by... Not money to up grade unless FEMA grants comes thru. But we all know how that goes. Maybe you'll get it or maybe not.

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    Default fire dues

    We are a very small rural fire dept. in western Arkansas. we cover 26 sq. miles 122 homes, have 5 firefighters, and annual budget of $4,800. We charge $35.00 per household. if your a non memeber and we get callled we charge $500.00 per fire dept responding for structual fire. We charge $250.00 for each responding fire dept for brush or wildland fire and if its during a burn band the fee doubles. All the rural depts in the county charge dues between $25.00 and $45.00. We have tried to make it so every homeowner payed there dues with the county taxes but no matter how we explained it they would one see it as a extra tax, even though all we were doing was having them pay it when the pay taxes not directly to the fire dept. But the ones copmplaining were probably the ones that don;t pay anyway and paying the dues with there taxes they would have to pay.

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    Default Dues on taxes

    We to tried to have the dues collected with the taxes but it did not go just like yours. People seem to think that it is a tax when it is not.

  6. #6
    firefighter7160
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    Quote Originally Posted by volfireman034
    We are a very small rural fire dept. in western Arkansas. we cover 26 sq. miles 122 homes, have 5 firefighters, and annual budget of $4,800.
    What about your act 833 money.....

    We get about 900 homes to pay there dues. We charge $35. And about 50 other outside the distract in are aid area. We also get about $15,000 for act 833 (state money) We only run fire's, but we have a large distract.

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    Slightly off topic, but I run with a rural volley co and we have had 4 structure fires in the last 4 months where the homes were not insured. One of the homes was 5000 square feet and another was 2500 or so. The 5000 sq ft house flashed over before we arrived and was completly destroyed. We put the fires out but what is up with homeowners not having homeowners insurance? The answer is that they don't think they will have a fire or be robbed or have a tree fall on their house.

    If the homeowners are not going to pay for homeowners insurance then they are not going to pay subscriptions to the fire company either and they will not pay say a $500.00 or $1000.00 stright fee after the fire is put out especally if it is a complete loss. We do not go the subscription route but we need to do something in the near future because most of our operating budget is paid for by fundraising and it is taking too much time away from our familys.

    Firefighters in our dist have to pay membership dues, it isn't much, $3.00/year or $60.00 life membership, this is a co-pay for insurance but we have to pay it to remain active and this on top of all the other time and effort we put into the fire service I find it hard to be sympathic to non-subscribers in areas where this is the norm.

    Hey I'm a firefighter and I love to put out fires but where we live structure fires cause real damage due to the amount of time it takes to realize there is a fire, get the firefighters on scene and establish a water source. If my house ever catches on fire while I'm at work, it's a gonner and thats just life.

    My township just passed a rule that all of the insurance compnies that sell homeowners insurance must put monies in an escrow account to pay for razing uninsured building that the homeowners do not tear down after they are damaged by fire or whatever. So the insured are paying for the uninsured in yet another way.

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    Smile Rural Indiana Fire Department

    We are a small rural department in Southeastern Indiana. We cover just over 100 sq miles and that includes about 5,000 people (2000 census). We charge $25 / year to be a member. Local tax abatement has been used to purchase a new pumper last year, so it will be tied up for the next 6 years.

    We have always responded to any call even if they are not members of the department.

    Most of the time we give them the option of paying there dues and promising to continue into the future or be billed the $500 dollars per response.

    Some of the insurance companies pay regardless of membership as well.

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    $48 per year per property, or $4 a month on your electric bill.

    $500 per call where service is rendered for non-members.

    We raised the rate from $36 per year a couple years back. Right now, that's about as high as we can reasonably expect to go, or people will start dropping off.
    Bryan Beall
    Silver City, Oklahoma USA

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    Any of you depts that charge nonmembers a fee for service using collection agents in the attempt to get your $? On occasion I've used for my business.

    There a tons of these companies out there looking for work as the strong economy has been cutting into their work (be very selective who you hire/check referances). They may take 1/3 to 1/2 of what they collect so make your fee/charge high enough to make it worthwhile (like $1000). Mr Homeowner does not pay the collection agent will also help you make a report to the appropriate credit bureaus (which likely will get Mr Homeowners attention even faster than a tax lien). Talk to your city/dept shyster/lawyer.
    Last edited by neiowa; 03-06-2006 at 01:07 AM.

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    Our SW Missouri department charges $40/year. It just got bumped from $30. We have departments charging anywhere from $30 to $60. Some charge around $100 for the first year, others just maintain a single charge for all years.

    One thing you might look into is your state statutes in regards to billing non-members. Missouri allows us to bill $100 for responding, $500 per hour of operations, and the membership fee. I know of some departments that will also bill a member's insurance for operations at a lower rate. But, whatever the insurance pays is "payment in full," they won't go after the member if insurance doesn't pay the whole amount. It's supposed to work on the premise that a lot of homeowner policies have a writer for fire suppression services. Gets them a little extra money for equipment and the member's not out any money.

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    In reference to using collections agencies---

    Nope, we've never had to. We send a bill witin 30 days for the payment due. If we don't get a response, we send a registered letter at 60 days advising them that if they don't respond, we will file a suit in court.

    To date, everyone that's got the second letter has paid in full before we got to court.

    Don't think we're evil for the lawsuit thing. If we don't make a serious committment to collect fees, there is no incentive for people to subscribe to service. Dues maintain our operation from month-to-month.

    We've worked out payment plans for people before, and if the property recently changed hands and we believe it's reasonable that the owners didn't know that they could subscribe, we've waived the fee in return for membership dues.

    We would much rather have their $4 dollars a month than a one-time $500 payment.

    BTW, this is my 1000th post. Yippee!
    Bryan Beall
    Silver City, Oklahoma USA

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