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Cranberry approves .25-mill tax increase to fund VFC

| Thursday, Dec. 24, 2015, 12:06 p.m.
Cranberry Volunteer Fire Company will benefit from the tax increase.
Cranberry Volunteer Fire Company will benefit from the tax increase.
At the Cranberry Township Volunteer Fire Company, the original fire truck from 1928 is kept in good working condition and is used for parades and other events in the community.
Keith Hodan | Trib Total Media
At the Cranberry Township Volunteer Fire Company, the original fire truck from 1928 is kept in good working condition and is used for parades and other events in the community.

Recognizing the need to support the volunteer firefighters, township supervisors approved a slight tax increase for the fire fund in 2016.

Vanessa Gleason, director of finance, said the .25-mill increase will generate about $95,000 for the fire fund.

A total of 2.37 mills is designated for the fire fund.

Property taxes collected for fire protection can only be used to support the fire company.

The tax comes on the heels of a busy year for the Cranberry Township Volunteer Fire Company.

As of Dec. 22, the department had responded to 701 calls, said Ed Hestin, company president.

There are 132 company members, and of those, Hestin said, 55 are active brigade members, meaning they are either firefighters or fire police.

The fire company operates out of two stations in the township.

New revenues will be used to fund recommended improvements expected to come from the Fire Company Strategic Plan.

The township has a 10-year capital plan and is in the middle of developing the strategic plan.

Gleason said a citizens' advisory committee made up of both residents and firefighters are looking at long-term operational and capital needs.

“One reason for the tax increase was in anticipation of some other results of that,” Gleason said.

For a home with a current market value of $250,000, the increase amounts to $6 a year, according to township officials.

Hestin said the fire company also does “occasionally receive donations from the community, which are usually put back into the fire safety and prevention program.”

Having a great fire company has its perks for property owners. Gleason said the township has a great rating from the New Jersey-based Insurance Services Office (ISO), which assesses municipalities' firefighting capabilities across the country. A better rating means lower insurance premiums.

Larissa Dudkiewicz is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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