Residents inside fire district in spout off about tax hike - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Residents inside fire district in Groton spout off about tax hike

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Poquonnock Bridge Fire District firehouse Poquonnock Bridge Fire District firehouse

Taxpayers in one shoreline fire district hope property owners answer their call Thursday night to extinguish a growing budget. The tax hike could flare up over 40 percent.

The paid firefighters of the Poquonnock Bridge Fire District answer more than 2,000 calls a year.

The fire district is one of nine that serve the town with a coverage area that is 12 square miles and 14,000 residents.

Residents such as Deborah Montiero said they think the fire district's budget is out of control after it increased from 5.9 to 8.3 mills, which is a 40 percent hike over last year's budget.

"That's a jump of about $230 on an assessment of $100,000," Montiero said.

The budget is going from $4.6 million to $6.2 million - that's a $1.6 million increase.

The biggest portion is $1 million to the other post employment benefit fund, which is a non-pension benefit provided to employees after employment ends.

Poquonnock Bridge Fire District President Chris Clark said they haven't been fully funding.

Many taxpayers told Eyewitness News nobody will win this budget battle.

"I've compared it to other fire districts and Poquonnock Bridge is very high," Mark Adams said.

Adams said he is "pretty much maxed out."

Montiero agreed with Adams.

"I think they're trying to implement things without having really explored," Montiero said. "I also think there's been gross mismanagement and underfunding, which has now gotten us to the budget crisis."

The tax hike will also impact businesses. One large business in the fire district, whose fire tax bill last year was $104,000, will be increased to $42,000.

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m.

If they have a quorum taxpayers will speak, otherwise, fire district leaders vote next week.

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