I would like to share some news with you and request your support. If you attended our West Pulaski Fire Department Annual Meeting a few months ago in October, you probably heard me announce that West Pulaski Fire had responded to a record number of emergency and assistance calls. We experienced a 20% increase in responses over the previous year. This indicates a growing trend we have seen over the past few years showing we are busier than ever serving the communities where we live.
You also may have heard me mention that with many factors included, it has been a significant challenge for our department to operate effectively within our current budget. Our fire department has resisted an increase in fire dues for as long as possible but the current economics of inflation, high fuel prices, growth in our service area and many unique elements of fire and rescue service providers make it necessary to address the financial needs of our fire district.
West Pulaski Fire Department has operated without dues increase for over 30 years but we feel it is necessary to increase the fire dues for residential and commercial properties at this time. WPFD is planning to hold a special election to raise our annual fire service fee (dues) and I hope to have your support. I am going to share the reasons why this is necessary.
Our yearly fire dues are paid per parcel with a structure on it, or what is called “improved land”. The cost is currently $50 per year for residential properties and $100 for commercial properties. It has been at this rate since 1992. And much has changed in 31 years.
• Inflation has deteriorated the value of that $50 we collect while prices for everything have steadily gone up.
• The number of calls for service has steadily risen each year. Our total for 2022 (1206) was an amazing increase of 20% over 2021.
• We are currently operating from current revenue AND reserve funds, having to pull from savings to balance our budget. That is obviously not a sustainable option in the long term.
• We continue to require substantial funds to properly maintain our vehicle fleet, acquire or replace PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and complete fire station maintenance that sometimes has to be deferred. Our current budget makes it very difficult to use our reserve funds to consider purchasing replacement vehicles as frequently as needed.
I hope these facts help paint a better picture of why a dues increase is necessary.
About the increase we are requesting:
We are seeking an increase from $50 to $95 for residential properties and an increase from $100 to $180 per year for commercial properties.
Public Meetings for Information and Comment:
We are hosting 3 public meetings to answer your questions and to allow comments. Please feel free to join us at any of these meetings later in April and May:
Meeting 1: Thursday, April 27th at 6:30 PM
Ferndale Extension Center Building
27021 Kanis Road Little Rock, AR 72223
Meeting 2: Tuesday, May 16th at 6:30 PM
West Pulaski Fire Station 4
35911 Hwy 300 Bigelow, AR 72016
Meeting 3: Thursday, May 25th at 6:30 PM
Crossroads New Baptist Church 18900 Congo Ferndale Rd, Little Rock, A 72210
Election Day and Location:
The election will be held on Tuesday, May 30th, 2023 at the Ferndale Extension Center Building from 7:30 AM to 7:30 PM
The address is 27021 Kanis Road, Little Rock, Arkansas 72223
Our ability to continue to provide our best level of emergency services depends on this increase in funding. We continue to invest in serving you and truly hope you will continue to support us!
Public Notice – Proposed Dues Increase for West Pulaski Fire District #23
On May 30, 2023, the West Pulaski Fire Protection District #23 (aka West Pulaski Fire Department) will host a special election to increase the fire fees (dues) of the district. The polling site will be open from 7:30 am until 7:30 pm at the Ferndale Extension Club Building located at 27021 Kanis Road, Little Rock, Arkansas 72223.
To vote you must be a parcel owner in the West Pulaski Fire District, with valid identification. Voters will be permitted one vote per parcel that they own that is assessed a fire fee (dues).
We are seeking an increase of $45 per year for residential properties and an $80 per year increase for businesses and commercial.
The current rates are $50 per year for each livable residential structure. $100 per year for Business or Commercial structure.
The proposed increase would be $95 per year for each livable residential structure. $180 per year for Business or Commercial structure.
WPFD had a great time training this morning with a Live Burn exercise. Crystal Fire hosted us today for quality time in their burn box that simulates a structure fire location with multiple rooms, entrances, and more. Practical training like this provides controlled conditions for exposure to fire, heat, and smoke in a way that allows us to enter, navigate, search, and extinguish a live fire. It is a great hands-on experience, especially for our newer folks. We appreciate the opportunity to get quality exposure to fire conditions in a safe manner. Thanks, Crystal Fire Department, Chief Forshee, and Bill Ridgeway!
2022 was a busy year for West Pulaski Fire Dept. Our crews responded to 1206 calls for service this year and which is a 20% increase over 2021. Here is a comparison over the past few years:
2022 – 1206 calls (Avg of 3.3 calls per day)
2021 – 981 calls (Avg of 2.6 calls per day)
2020 – 828 calls (Avg of 2.2 calls per day)
2022 Call Percentages Breakdown:
Fires –139 Responses (11.67%)
Rescue & Emergency Medical Service — 673 Responses (56.51%)
Hazardous Condition (No Fire) — 25 Responses (2.1%)
Service Call – 106 Responses (8.9%)
Good Intent Call – 160 Responses (13.43%)
False Alarm & False Call – 53 Responses (4.45%)
Severe Weather & Natural Disaster – 28 Responses (2.35%)
Special Incident Type – 7 Responses (0.59%)
Other — 15 Responses (1%)
These call statistics indicate not only some general growth in our service area (new homes or population increases) but also the density of non-residents that move through our area as traffic (cars) or visitors and events by non-residents. More traffic and more people usually equal more activity.
We deeply appreciate the support from you, our neighbors, that help us to serve the several neighborhoods in our fire district. With your support, we can always do our best.
Want to Join us? We are always looking for great folks to join our great organization. Are you looking for ways to help or serve? If you want to know more, reach out to WPFD for more info to find out how you can join our team. Call 501-821-9320, visit your local fire station, or find us online at wpfirescue.org or on social media