New Ordinance Will Help Volunteer Fire Depts. in Warren Co.

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A new ordinance proposed Friday will help Warren County's 9 volunteer fire departments more effectively and efficiently raise funds.

The firefighters are unpaid, but their training and equipment costs thousands of dollars a year. In the past, the departments have collected voluntary dues from county property owners to recoup that cost. The new ordinance will put a $30 charge for homeowners and $50 charge for businesses on your tax bill. That charge only applies to property outside the Bowling Green city limits.

Property owners will have the option to "opt-out" of the dues charge, but risk a $500-$1,000 charge if a volunteer fire department is called to their property to fight a fire.

Firefighters had asked for $10 charge for privately owned vacant lots and wooded areas, but that charge was opposed by some magistrates. Firefighters compromised once a deadline for putting the dues fee on property bills loomed.

Magistrates and firefighters say they will use this first year as a benchmark and will re-evaluate the billing program next year.