Letter to the Editor,
Since we are paying much higher property taxes due to the addition of a fee to pay to the Milesville (Volunteer) Fire Department since our property was annexed in to a fire protection district that we were unaware existed.
I understand via a member that there is a very large fuel bill for this last year. There were not a lot of fires that I am aware of in our area. MVFD fought fire in the Black Hills. That would explain the fuel costs. And heating buildings for the trucks would explain propane costs, understandably.
If we have a fire and we have had two fires in the past three years, it has been Philip Volunteer Fire Department, Ash Creek and good neighbors that have come, fought and put out the fires we had. Philip is always there first and I don't see why there isn't just one single fire department in our county. Philip is an excellent fire department and has a great fire chief, we are very fortunate to have Marty Hansen.
Certainly, we all want help when there is a fire and would expect a bill that would be then sent to property (ranch) insurance and pay the fire department like we have in the past to Philip VFD. (Paying bills to MVFD and to the property tax fee/mill levy billing sounds like a double taxation- which is illegal).
A Milesville Fire Department and Philip Fire District member sat at our kitchen table and stated that no matter whether we signed his petition or not we were going to be paying in to the fire department
through our property taxes. It didn't happen in Philip's district because they had a chance to vote on it when he tried it in the Philip Fire Protection District area he received a lot of resistance.
I understand the costs of maintaining a fire truck, there was a neighborhood community owned fire truck parked in a small building here. And, it is not cheap for fuel to run these trucks and upkeep. I personally understand the danger involved in fighting the fires. I certainly appreciate the need for funding a small volunteer fire department. I was "invited" by the MVFD fire chief to attend "their" fire meeting on Tuesday night, but due to an emergency I was unable to attend. I called and asked a member to save me a financial report and he said it was too expensive to print them.
I have yet to see the legal paper that requires participation in a fire protection district and how that the
lines were drawn to establish such a district to begin with. I believe Philip dissolved their fire protection district recently. We dissolved our neighborhood community fire truck due to insurance reasons and immediately we were targeted by the MVFD for money.
Every landowner paying this fire fee on their land should receive a copy of the financial report from the Milesville Volunteer Fire Department. The legal notices in the Philip Pioneer Review would be a good place for it. We did not vote for it, I feel it only fair that it is printed in the legal notices so everyone in the district is aware of the financial reporting of the Milesville Volunteer Fire Department.
/s/ Char Price
Philip, SD 57567