County fire chief provides update on proposed eastern Rowan district changes

Published 12:05 am Wednesday, June 5, 2024

SALISBURY — County Fire Chief Deb Horne provided an update on the proposed changes to fire service districts in eastern Rowan County during the board of commissioners meeting on Monday.

The changes would reduce the areas that the Stanly-County-based Richfield-Misenheimer Fire Department covers in Rowan County, moving the area into the East Rowan Fire Service District. The coverage of the area would be split between the East Gold Hill and Pooletown fire departments. County Manager Aaron Church said in an earlier Salisbury Post story that the idea was brought forward by both county and fire officials in order to expand the funding for the Rowan County service district.

The area that the change would affect is an approximately 1,200-acre strip of land in the southeast corner of the county. Most of the current Richfield district is bounded by the Old Beatty Ford Road and Reeves Island Road intersection to the east, the Stokes Ferry Road and Old Beatty Ford intersection to the north and the county line to the south and west.

An approximately 300-acre area would move from being covered by East Gold Hill to Pooletown as part of the change.

“It’s been Richfield’s area, there’s 58 structures there, but on automatic mutual aid Pooletown and Gold Hill have been coming and this would just extend that East Rowan Service District that Pooletown and Gold Hill cover anyway, now. I believe that last year there were two calls in that area,” said Horne.

Horne said that the coverage of the new area by both of the departments meets all state and local requirements.

Both the Richfield-Misenheimer and the East Rowan fire service districts have a property tax rate of $0.07 for every $100 of valuation, so the tax bill for affected property owners would not change. The only change would be which department that funding goes towards.

The report that Horne submitted projects that the changes would bring in an additional $12,128 in annual revenue to Pooletown. East Gold Hill would lose $373 in annual revenue, as the area it is losing to Pooletown has a higher total valuation than the area it is gaining from Richfield-Misenheimer.

The changes are not yet final, as the commissioners are required by state law to hold a public hearing at least two weeks after the report is presented to them. The commissioners voted to set that hearing on the changes for their regularly-scheduled meeting at 6 p.m. on June 17.

The report is available for viewing at the county clerk’s office or on the county’s website as part of the agenda packet for the meeting on Monday.