Akron officials: Fairness is goal of fire protection fees

Posted June 8, 2017 at 5:00 am

By Julie Ann Madden

To charge all residents they provide fire protection services equally.

That is the goal of Akron city officials in requesting the West Akron Fire District pay $24,000 annually, said Akron City Administrator Dan Rolfes.

Rural residents living on the Iowa side are taxed 45 cents per $1,000 taxable valuation now, he said. Last year it was 41 cents per $1,000 taxable valuation. To make it fair throughout rural Plymouth County, the Supervisors set this levy, which was the recommendation of the county’s fire chiefs.

“Wouldn’t you want to charge everyone the same price for the same service?” stated Rolfes. “We’re trying to make it fair for everyone.”

Because South Dakota and Iowa taxing laws are calculated differently, Rolfes and former City Administrator Gary Horton came up with a formula in which Iowa’s fire protection levy was converted to a “per square mile” cost.

What Akron and Westfield city residents pay was omitted from the formula to make sure the formula was “apples to apples,” said Rolfes. Now, it’s strictly based on the “per square mile” figure which is $346.17.

The formula takes into account that Iowa has a tax rollback on this tax levy. Therefore, the 45 cents per $1,000 taxable valuation with the rollback is about 22 cents per $1,000 taxable valuation, said Rolfes, and that is what we are proposing the West Akron Fire District pay.

If the West Akron Fire District is dissolved or split between the Elk Point and Alcester fire protection services, then people living north of S.D. Highway 48 will pay less than the 22 cents per $1,000 taxable valuation and those who live south of the highway will pay more.

“We’re just trying to keep everybody informed about what’s going on,” said Rolfes. “We’re not trying to be greedy. We’re just trying to make it the same for everybody.”

For more information, contact Rolfes at Akron City Hall, 712-568-2041.

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