Ray Cunningham can’t predict the future, but he already knows what is on the state’s agenda for 2012.

Cunningham, chairman of the New Albany Township Fire District (New Chapel), said the state plans on buying and tearing down the New Chapel fire house along Grant Line Road when road widening begins prior to or in 2012.

Tuesday, Cunningham asked the Floyd County Commissioners to “slightly” increase the current fire tax to New Albany Township residents in order to buy land and build a new fire house. The township currently has fire houses along Grant Line and Budd roads.

“If we don’t act on this soon, I don’t know where we will put the fire house,” said Cunningham referring to the piece of land available for sale near the current facility along Grant Line Road.

Cunningham said land for a new fire house will cost around $200,000 with building costs adding to that total. Township residents pay three cents per $100 of assessed property value. He said the tax increase would amount to around $49 a year to residents.

The commissioners did not vote on the new tax and said they understand New Chapel’s dilemma. They also said they do not feel comfortable placing a new tax, or additional tax, on residents.

Commissioner Chuck Freiberger asked Cunningham if the state planned to reimburse the fire district or help them find land to build a new fire house. Cunningham said the state only plans to pay market value for the land which he estimates to be around $100,000.

“That house is inadequate as it is. It was designed as a volunteer fire house 30 years ago,” Cunningham said.

The New Chapel Department, which services all of New Albany Township, recently purchased a new ladder truck that is too large to be housed in the station’s bay, according to both Cunningham and Chief Jamey Noel.

With the establishment of the fire district, New Chapel has three firefighters on duty 24 hours a day, and more are on call should they be needed.

“I understand what the commissioners said. I want to pay as little in taxes as possible,” Noel said. “But sometimes things are needed.”

The annual budget only covers operating expenses and not capital improvements, Noel said.

“If we get $100,000 for that property, that is not enough to even buy the land for the new fire house,” he said. “Once we pay for the new house, we can zero the new rate out.”

Cunningham said he will continue to ask the commissioners for the increase.

“I have to, we don’t have a choice,” he said.

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