Corolla Civic Association (CCA) has been working with Corolla Fire & Rescue Squad (CFRS) to develop a plan to get the word out on the need to form a fire service district covering Corolla. CCA is in full support of this effort.
After going through an extensive strategic planning exercise, Corolla Fire & Rescue Squad (CFRS) has determined that it has reached a crossroads in its ability to meet the fire and safety requirements of our community. As the number of fire calls in Corolla has been steadily growing at an exponential pace, the number of members in our all-volunteer force is decreasing as replacement volunteers have not kept up with retirements. CFRS’s call volume, now over 400 per year, is expected to top 500 calls by 2022 as development (much of which is high density) increases.
Additionally, you should note that homeowner insurance rates are partially dependent on what is known as an ISO rating reflecting the capabilities of local fire protection. If, for example, the number of volunteer firefighters falls below 28, the ISO rating would drop from the current level of 6 to a level of 9. This would result in annual insurance premium increases in the hundreds of dollars.
We believe that the only prudent course is to hire paid professional firefighters to supplement the volunteer force, similar to the fire departments in Dare County OBX. To fund a combined department, we need the Currituck County Board of Commissioners (BOC) to create a Fire Service District. In CFRS’s judgement, we would need two professional firefighters at each of the Whalehead and Pine Island Fire Stations on a 24/7 basis 365 days a year. This would require an annual tax of $.04 per $100 of assessed property value, which translates into $160 per year for a home assessed at $400,000 — likely less than the insurance premium increases attributable to a drop in the ISO rating. Note also that grant funding under FEMA’s SAFER program is being pursued and we are also exploring the availability of Occupancy Taxes to pay a part of the cost. These would lower the tax impact.
North Carolina law requires that the BOC make a number of findings prior to approving creation of a fire service district. A key finding is that there is ‘demonstrable demand’ for the service from the property owners in the proposed district. This is where we need your help. While CFR is reaching out to all property owners in Corolla by mail, we would like your support in reaching out to your friends and neighbors. We are asking you to share these educational materials and endorse the effort. The letter CFRS is mailing as well as the FAQ’s can be found here: