Volunteer firefighters to get deals on car tags|[5/13/06]

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 15, 2006

After more details are worked out, volunteer firefighters in Warren County will likely get a discount the next time a tag is bought for their vehicle, thanks to legislation to take effect July 1.

The new law, authored by Sen. Dean Kirby, R-Pearl, will cover volunteer firefighters in active service for any county, municipality or fire district in the state.

It allows boards of supervisors in each county to grant an exemption on one motor vehicle owned by each active volunteer firefighter of either $100 or the amount of taxes due, whichever is less.

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To receive it, those who can prove their current status as an active volunteer firefighter with at least three consecutive years of service may apply with fire coordinators in each county on a form prepared by the State Tax Commission.

The exemption applies only to county ad valorem taxes and not to city or school district taxes.

The Fire Services Development Division of the State Fire Marshal’s Office is working on setting up rules and guidelines to help coordinators decide on final eligibility, said deputy insurance commissioner Lee Harrell.

That includes whether to extend the exemption to support staff members in fire protection districts.

&#8220That’s one of the questions to work out,” Warren County Fire Coordinator Kelly Worthy said, adding that he has received assurances that all details of the exemption would be &#8220forthcoming soon.”

A recommendation will not be made to the Board of Supervisors until all details are worked out, Worthy said.

In Warren County, fire protection is provided by the City of Vicksburg and by the county’s six fire districts. The number of volunteers in the county stays in the range of 85 to 100, Worthy said, with up to 40 others who help with fund-raisers and on-site help at fires.

In the city, the Vicksburg Fire Department has 96 firefighters assigned to seven fire stations, with an additional 42 employees as EMTs and support staff.