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TOWN BUDGETS: Fire costs spike in Flat Rock

FLAT ROCK — The Flat Rock Village Council signaled its likely approval on May 11 of a $2.74 million FY 2024 budget that sets a tax rate of 11.9 cents per $100 valuation.

The new rate is down a penny from the current rate of 13 cents but 2.4 cents higher than the revenue neutral rate of 9.5 cents based on the town’s new tax base, which grew by 36.4 percent.

Fire protection accounts for the largest expenditure by far, with town-collected taxes funding three rural fire & rescue departments that cover the village. Valley Hill and Green River each lowered their fire tax rate from 10 to 9 cents while Blue Ridge maintained its 13-cent rate. Total fire protection cost rises to $1.59 million, a 29.8 percent increase.

The budget appropriates $539,588 for village administration, up 7 percent.

Of the village’s ARP grant of $1,078,153, the lion’s share — $815,109 — went to first responders, nonprofits, local businesses harmed by the pandemic and premium pay for staff. In the new budget, council set aside $215,000 of the balance for the Dye Creek restoration at the Park at Flat Rock and appropriated $44,048 more for premium pay for employees to be distributed this year and next.