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Gaston voters to decide fire tax

GASTON – Voters in the town of Gaston will have a second chance to approve a tax levy in support of the Gaston Fire District.

According to Northampton County Board of Elections Supervisor Tonya Pitts, voters in the town will have the opportunity to vote on the levy on October 4 of this year.

The Gaston Board of Commissioners forwarded a resolution to the elections office and the United States Department of Justice requesting the levy be placed on a ballot on that date. It will be the second time in just over two years the town citizens have voted on the issue.

In June of 2003, Gaston residents voted down a similar measure by a mere four votes.

Gaston Mayor Billy Melton said the board moved to put the referendum to another vote at the behest of the Gaston Fire Department.

&uot;Basically, the county has approved a five cent tax,&uot; Melton said. &uot;The Gaston Fire Department is asking us to do likewise.&uot;

Melton said the funding that would be supplied by the referendum would be almost the same as was currently being spent on the GFD from the ad valorem taxes collected by the town. He said the funding for the Gaston Fire District in next year’s budget was &uot;about $11,000.&uot;

If passed, the measure would allow the town of Gaston to be authorized to levy an annual property tax not in excess of five cents on the one hundred dollar value of property that is subject to taxation for the purpose of supporting the fire district.

According the resolution, the Gaston Fire Department has been providing service to the town since its inception. That has come due to an annual payment from the town.

It also said the Commissioners of Northampton County has established a fire district for the areas west, north and east of the town that was supported by an ad valorem tax levy.

&uot;The fire district has requested the Board of Commissioners of the Town of Gaston to initiate similar ad valorem tax levy on real property within the Town of Gaston for service by the fire district within the town of Gaston,&uot; the resolution reads.

Melton said he wouldn’t speak on behalf of the town board, but that he personally was going to support the levy.

A total of 615 Gaston voters will decide the measure.