Most Lexington County homeowners will dig a little deeper in their wallets to pay for fire protection under a spending plan adopted Tuesday.
The tax hike initially approved by County Council is $2.15 on a home valued at $100,000 for taxes.
The increase will appear on tax bills sent this fall if the county’s spending plan of nearly $122 million receives final approval by mid-June.
Council members passed up other minor tax hikes allowed under state-imposed restrictions. “We try to hold it down, be responsible with taxpayers’ money,” Council chairman Johnny Jeffcoat of Irmo said.
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The tax hike is designed to enable fire officials to build up to a half dozen new fire stations in coming years, facilities needed to reduce response time mainly in rural areas.
It won’t apply to residents of Batesburg-Leesville, Cayce and West Columbia, since those communities have their own firefighting forces.
The spending plan also includes money to add 18 county firefighters as well as other public safety staff – 10 paramedics and eight 911 dispatchers and call-takers.
It includes, too, a new $1.5 million training facility for firefighters.