CHARLOTTE – Mecklenburg County residents living in extraterritorial jurisdictions may see a rise in the amount of taxes they pay for fire department protection.

County Commissioners will meet Tuesday, Dec. 20, to discuss a tax of between four and seven cents on residents in extraterritorial jurisdictions for fire protection.

While seemingly miniscule, the tax increase could provide thousands of additional dollars to Mecklenburg County to ease the $2.5 million it spent responding to fire in extraterritorial jurisdictions in 2010, according to County Fire Marshall Mark Auten.

According to Auten, residents living in extraterritorial jurisdictions across the county pay a fraction of what residents living in town limits pay toward fire protection. While residents living in extraterritorial jurisdictions may argue their distance from town limits disqualifies them from the need to pay residential fire taxes, it costs more money for fire departments in the county to fight fires in areas where fire hydrants aren’t readily available than to fight fires in areas within town limits.

“The fire tax will equitably allocate resources across service districts,” said Auten. “It will have the greatest impact on the citizens in the ETJ.”