Ridge Volunteer Fire Department Hosting Public Hearing to Discuss Increase of Fire Tax Rate

January 25, 2024

(Vote passed with no nays) On Tuesday, January 23, 2024, the Ridge Volunteer Fire Department requested authorization from St. Mary’s County Commissioners to hold public hearings and meetings to discuss a Fire Tax rate increase.

This increase would go from the current rate of .036 to .056, which equates to $48.85 per household or a $4.08 monthly difference to the current rate.

The max tax rate is currently .056, Ridge, Mechanicsville, and Leonardtown VFD’s all requested meetings to discuss the tax rate being increased to the max rate.

The public hearing will be held on February 15th, 2024, at 7:00 p.m., at the Ridge Volunteer Fire Department.

Additional information will be provided on the meetings/discussions along with their set dates, times, and location soon.

Ridge representatives stated they’re asking for a Fire tax increase due to the tax revenue being significantly outpaced by increased operational cost and cost of apparatus, and to sustain daily operations and capital investment programs in apparatus and the fire station.

They currently have 104 members with over 60% being active, Ridge has averaged 252 calls over past 2 years and have served their community since 1948. The fire tax has not increased from $0.036 since it was established.

  • PPE 40% since 2020
  • Fuel cost has risen 20% over the past 3 year
  • Apparatus Maintenance is at a 31% cost increase over their past 3 year average.

Their FY23 Carnival gross revenue was over $68,000 less than the past 4 year average. Their carnival rides in the future are unknown due to cost.