ROBESON COUNTY, NC (WBTW) – More than one hundred residents of the Saddletree community in Robeson County have been paying for fire protection but can’t use it.
Residents in the area are not included in a fire district, nor are they within the threshold of six miles of the near three volunteer fire departments.
Shelia Hammonds has lived on McDuffie Crossing for nearly 30 years and she says she went from paying five hundred dollars to twelve hundred dollars a year for property taxes.
“It’s not right, our insurance doubled and some peoples’ not in Robeson County. We need to get ours to drop back down so it can be like everybody else’s,” explained Shelia Hammonds.
“It was real hard for us right in this district to get insurance. They wanted to drop us when they found out we weren’t in a fire zone,” Saddletree resident Redell Locklear said.
Locklear says since he has been paying for the services he should get the same privilege as other citizens in the county.
“We feel like we’re being cheated. We’re having to pay for something that we really ain’t got,” said Locklear.
Robeson County General Services Manager Charles Britt says the county did make an error in charging fire district taxes to some Saddletree property owners.
“We made a mistake by using a map that tells which departments are to respond to areas that are not in a fire district rather than a tax map,” said Britt
Britt says the state will only allow the county to go back five years to give residents their refunds.
“Part of those checks, the paperwork has been done and they’ve been checked and part of it has been sent to finance for those checks to be written and mailed back to those individuals,” explained Britt.
Charles Britt says the total amount of money that would be refunded to the resident is undetermined.
A community meeting is scheduled to discuss the need for a substation in the Saddletree area Thursday night at 7 p.m. at the Bethel Hill Baptist Church on Shannon Road.