December 1, 2022

Fire Department Reports

Hand County is served by eight fire departments.  They are:  Ree Heights Fire, Polo Fire, Orient Fire, Redfield Rural Fire, Tulare Fire, Wessington Fire, South Hand Fire and Miller Fire.  The Saint Lawrence Fire Department was integrated into the Miller Fire Department almost a decade ago.

The Polo Fire District is an area larger than the Polo Fire Department covers.  The Polo Fire Department provides financial support to neighboring fire departments to cover portions of the Polo Fire District.  It is important to understand that there is a difference between the district and the department.  The Polo Fire District is a taxing entity, collecting ad valorem taxes based on real property within the district.  Tax payers in the district elect officers to administer the board.  That board then provides support to the fire departments.  It is very similar to how a school board administers a school district.  The remaining fire departments operate independently and rely on funding from those who they serve, either through township contracts, gifts or fund raisers.

Currently, the county does not provide any tax dollar support to the fire departments.  The county does however act as a pass through for the fire insurance tax reversion process.  Each policy holder is taxed for fire protection.  The state receives these taxes and then, by statute, use half of the tax to fund fire education for fire departments and the other half goes to counties.  The counties then apportion the tax funds to the various departments based on their population and the value of property in their response areas.

The reports are required by statute so that tax payers and other interested parties can see where their tax dollars are going, even when the department may be privately incorporated.

Lastly, the county commission has no role in operations of the fire district or fire departments listed above.  This information is provided here as it is required that the county receive these financial reports and that makes them public records.

FORMS:

Polo Fire District (A formal taxing levying district)

Miller Fire Department (a private entity)

Wessington Fire Department (a private entity)

Tulare Fire Department (a private entity)

Redfield Rural Fire Department (a private entity)

Orient Fire Department (a private entity)

Ree Heights Fire Department (a private entity)

South Hand Fire Department (a private entity)