Wake considers consolidating fire departments

February 9, 2013 

Fire stations in rural Wake County may face consolidation as the county looks to stamp out spending. Deputy Wake County Manager Joe Durham says the tax district budget is unsustainable.

Wake’s fire tax districts fund fire protection in unincorporated areas and Wendell through 13 not-for-profit departments and contracts with six municipal departments.

Since 2000, the amount of unincorporated land in the fire tax district has shrunk from 615 square miles to 550 square miles. Yet, the cost of operating Wake’s unincorporated fire stations has continued to grow.

Raising property taxes is not an option, Durham said. In his presentation to county commissioners last month, Durham identified the Eastern Wake County, Falls Lake, and Swift Creek districts as candidates for consolidation.

Ray Broadwell, board chairman for Eastern Wake Fire & Rescue, says he doubts the district could cut expenditures without affecting service. Eastern Wake Fire serves areas south of Knightdale and east of Wendell and employs 18 full-time firefighters.

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