Fire service agreement reached by Orangeburg city, county; tax to replace fire contracts | Local

Fire trucks stationed at the City of Orangeburg’s Department of Public Safety headquarters on Middleton Street. 

Orangeburg County and City of Orangeburg are closer to an agreement on funding fire service for people who live outside the city limits, but receive city fire service.

Orangeburg County Council on Monday gave unanimous first reading by title only to a fire service agreement with the City of Orangeburg.

“This has been a project we have been working on for a long time in conjunction with the city,” Orangeburg County Administrator Harold Young said.

City of Orangeburg property owners pay for fire service through their city taxes. Residents outside the city’s coverage area pay a special fire district tax to Orangeburg County.

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People who live between the city limits and the county’s fire district receive fire service from the City of Orangeburg. They’re supposed to buy contracts for fire service from the city.

Residents who don’t buy contracts still receive fire protection, but they don’t receive the benefit of the city’s Insurance Service Office rating. To an insurance company, that basically means a home does not have fire coverage.

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Not everyone purchases a fire contract, meaning the cost for those who do buy a contract has continued to increase.

Under the city-county proposal, the county intends to contract with the City of Orangeburg so the city’s fire department continues to be responsible for fighting fires within a five-mile radius outside of the city limits.