MONCKS CORNER -- A new fire station in a growing neighborhood that the town has annexed could raise taxes for everyone.
Council will decide today whether that's a good idea or not.
Town officials have annexed thousands of houses in new subdivisions along U.S. Highway 52 north of Goose Creek in the past few years.
The area is served by the Whitesville Rural Fire Department, which has a station about four miles to the west.
Moncks Corner Fire Chief David Miller and Mayor Bill Peagler say that's too far. They estimate it would take a firetruck about eight minutes to respond to a fire in Foxbank, where about 600 houses have been built just north of Cypress Gardens Road. They say it shouldn't take more than three or four minutes for a firetruck to reach a burning house.
Peagler is asking council to approve a new fire station in or near Foxbank, where 10 new houses a month are being built and 1,700 more are planned.
Several Foxbank residents have appeared at council meetings to support Peagler since the proposal came up last year.
The new station would cost about $800,000. Peagler and Miller also want council to approve $400,000 for a new firetruck for the main station at the municipal complex.
The town also wants to refinance $186,000 borrowed in 2008.
Put it altogether, and repaying that loan could raise the tax bill on a $100,000 house about $4, Peagler said.
The Foxbank developers have offered a tract of land near the amenity center for a new fire station, according to town officials. But Peagler is trying to get a tract closer to U.S. 52. He hopes a new fire station right on the highway would encourage more businesses there.
Whitesville has offered to staff the new station, so the town wouldn't have to hire more firefighters or buy trucks, Peagler said.
The issue is up for a committee debate and final council vote today. Peagler expects the vote to be close. Several council members have argued against the proposal. They could not be reached for comment Monday.
NEW FIRE STATION
The issue: Should Moncks Corner borrow up to $800,000 to build a new fire station to serve Foxbank Plantation and other growing subdivisions along U.S. Highway 52?
Upsides: Residents along U.S. 52 would be safer in case of fire. It could attract new businesses along that commercial corridor.
Downsides: It's another example of residents paying for the cost of growth. If council approves the project, it could add $4 to the property tax bill for a $100,000 house.
Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553.