Deadline set for fire service freeloaders

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Deadline set for fire service freeloaders

Postby Brenda on Wed Mar 12, 2008 8:05 am

Deadline set for fire service freeloaders
03:24 PM CDT on Tuesday, March 11, 2008

LUCAS — How would you feel if you paid taxes to get police, fire and emergency medical services, but your neighbors across the street got it all for free? One Collin County town is trying to change that.
Mark Salvatore has been paying taxes in Lucas — population 5,100 — for 11 years now. He receives police and fire protection, animal control, and people who repair the streets and keep the water and sewers running.
That's why Salvatore says he's so frustrated by those who get the same services — but don't pay for it.
"I think they need to foot the bill." said Salvatore. "We've been screaming about this for a long time. They've been getting services from the city and really haven't done anything to help offset that cost. So I think it's the right thing to do."
Lucas city council members decided to stop providing free services to neighborhoods outside their city limits. They erected signs with this warning: Starting May 1, the free ride is over.

Lucas Mayor Bill Carmickle stands next to a warning sign.
"If you get services, you've got to pay for the services," said Lucas Mayor Bill Carmickle. "Our taxes are the lowest in the county right now in the City of Lucas, and the city services are some of the top in the county."
One-third of city taxes pay for the fire department. As of May 1, people who don't live in Lucas could be either be forced to get fire protection from somewhere else, or pay a pricey fee to have Lucas engines respond.
"We just feel that it's not fair for our citizens to have to support the people outside our city limits and pay for their services," said Lucas Mayor Bill Carmickle.
The mayor said the solution is simple: Neighborhoods that choose to become part of Lucas pay taxes and receive the benefits.

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