MVFD Hosting Public Hearing on Fire Tax Rate Increase
By Mechanicsville Volunteers
January 23, 2024


On Tuesday, January 23, 2024, the Mechanicsville Volunteer Fire Department requested authorization from St. Mary’s County Commissioners to hold public hearings and meetings to discuss a Fire Tax rate increase.

The Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the public hearing.

This increase would go from .046 to .056 per tax assessed $1000 property value.
This equates to an average $28.18 per household per year, or a $2.35 monthly difference for residents in MVFD's first due coverage area.

The maximum tax rate is currently .056.
Due to rising inflation, and facing increasing energy, fuel, turnout gear, and equipment costs, Ridge, Mechanicsville, and Leonardtown VFD’s all requested the Commissioners approve public hearings to increase their tax rates.

Mechanicsville Volunteer Fire Department has been operating since 1934.

A public hearing has been approved by the Saint Marys County Commissioners and will be held on Feb.13th, 2024, at 6:30 p.m., at the Mechanicsville Volunteer Fire Department with public comments ending on February 22nd, 2024.


MVFD has not had a tax rate increase since 2009, and with a continuously growing call volume our operating expenses have increased dramatically.

Our fuel cost increase for a 3-year average is 20%.
Our apparatus maintenance costs have increased 30% in a 3-year average.
Firefighting turnout gear has increased 40% since 2020.

The Department has 124 members, with 23 new members in last 12 months!
All are 100% volunteer.

MVFD has not failed to respond on an incident since October 2020.

Askey & Associates, CPA, LLC conducts an annual audit of our finances.
Our finances were also reviewed by Saint Marys County Department of Finance as part of this rate increase request.

Below is data from 2023 for MVFD.

In 2023 out of 958 incidents, there were 240 overlapping incidents, which equates to 24.92% of all responses.

Time on Incidents (HH:MM:SS)
Brush 2 - 103:36:00
Boat 2 - 15:57:51
Car 2 - 59:23:56
Command 2 - 25:33:43
Engine 224 - 26:23:35
Engine 23 - 309:45:37
Engine 24 - 83:53:42
Marine Support Unit 2 - 22:41:08
Raft 2 - 5:20:31
Rescue Squad 2 - 399:58:47
Tanker 2 - 96:24:17
Tanker 224 - 12:32:24
Tanker 24 - 40:39:35
Utility 2 - 49:51:58
Utility 2A - 9:33:31
UTV 2 - 43:48:37

Individual Unit Responses by Type:
Engine Company - 479
Rescue Squad - 194
Tanker - 102
Support Vehicles - 294
1069 total individual unit responses

Response Time Averages: (MM:SS)
Average Dispatch to Arrival - 10:13
*NOTE* Dispatch to arrival is an average of all responses, including responses to Charles, Calvert, and Prince Georges Counties*
Dispatch to Enroute - 2:58
Average Time Operating - 32:49

Automatic / Mutual Aide (To other Fire Departments)
Given - 212
Received - 274

Incident Types:
357 Rescue/EMS incidents
606 Fire Incidents

Regularly Scheduled Maintenance Expenditures:
Department of Transportation (DOT) Annual Inspection of Apparatus - Annually
All ground ladders inspected and tested - Annually
All Fire Pumps on Apparatus tested - - Annually
10,000+ feet of fire hose pressure tested -- Annually
Annual hydraulic extrication tool service - Annually
Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) - Annually
SCBA air cylinders hydrostatic testing every 5 years (15 year service life)
Breathing air compressor service and air sample testing -- Annually
Annual service of SCBA mask Fit Testing Machine -- Annually
Tire Rotations and Replacement -- Annually

In 2022 MVFD ordered a new 750 gallon engine to replace a 1989 engine.
We should receive it in the Spring of 2024 and anticipate 20+ plus years of service from it.

In January 2024 MVFD ordered a new 3000 gallon tanker, to replace our 1996 3000 gallon tanker, at significant cost due to inflation rates in fire service apparatus.
This unit should serve the Community for 30 years.

Our Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) air cylinders are approaching the end of their life span.
These were purchased in 2013 with a federal grant, their replacement will be in excess of six figures.

These replacements are in part necessitated by National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) replacement guidelines to ensure the safety of our crews and meet modern operational practices so we can serve the community best.

We continuously apply for local, state, and federal grants as well as fundraise multiple times a year via our Department Auxiliary.
Limitations in these funding options have led to seeking a tax increase from the Districts we protect.