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Hydrant Fee Could Help Sustain Plum Borough Fire Fund

Officials are discussing implementing a hydrant fee on all households to help fund fire department needs.

residents might have to pay an extra fee to help fund fire department needs in upcoming years.

Plum officials are considering implementing a hydrant fee for all residents to benefit the borough's fire fund.

Council had voted on the matter and decided to give it more time.

Members of the borough council finance committee—Mike Dell, Keith Nowalk and Don Knopfel—met with fire department officials on Tuesday to discuss the possibility.

All four borough fire departments—, , and —had representatives present at the meeting.

The borough's fire fund—used to pay for fire department equipment and apparatuses, insurance, hydrant and water service, worker's compensation and more—currently has a little more than $45,000.

However, officials transfered $75,000 into the fund in January. Had they not done that, the fund would have been $30,000 in the hole.

For several years, officials had been taking money out of the fire fund to balance the general fund budget.

Without any extra revenue, the fund is predicted to have a $31,000 deficit in 2013, a $112,800 deficit by 2014 and a deficit of almost $200,000 by 2015.

Implementing a $1-per-month hydrant fee would generate about $132,000 annually—about $65,000 is needed to pay for hydrant and water service.

Unity VFD was in line to get a new pumper this year, however, it wasn't able to due to the condition of the fund.

If the hydrant fee is implemented, the fire departments can start buying pumpers as scheduled by 2013.

Dell suggested even increasing the amout to $1.50 or $2 per month to help the departments pay for any renovations needed—including the possible movement of Renton VFD to a .

All fire officials agreed to send a list of needs to borough Manager Mike Thomas.

Dell said if the fee in implemented for 2013, it can be adjusted annually. However, he said he doesn't want to "keep hitting the residents" with more expenses.

Council will continue to discuss the possibility of the fee throughout the year. To go into effect in 2013, officials must approve it by December, though Dell said the fire departments most likely would know a lot sooner than that.

Do you agree with the hydrant fee? Tell us in the comments!

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