Op-Ed: What Is Easton Fire District #1?

I live in lower Easton, and for 26 years I have paid taxes to Easton fire District #1. I never really understood what these taxes were for and I never understood that this was completely separate from the Easton volunteer fire department.

Like many of us, I just paid the tax without really understanding it. I found that the following was enacted in 1931:

AN ACT AMENDING THE CHARTER OF THE BRIDGEPORT HYDRAULIC COMPANY. 
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. The Bridgeport Hydraulic Company, a consolidated corporation duly organized and existing under the provisions of an act approved May 5, 1927, is authorized to supply the town of Easton and the inhabitants thereof with water for public and domestic purposes in the same manner as said company is authorized to supply water in the city of Bridgeport, and for its corporate purposes, to lay its pipes through public streets, ways and grounds in said town of Easton, provided such streets, ways and ground shall be left by said company in all respects in as good condition as before laying such pipes.

Section 2. The town of Easton or any school district or fire district within said town may contract with said company for a supply of water for the use or protection of any property within its limits and for other purposes, and may lay and collect a tax for such amounts as may be required to meet liabilities incurred under any such contract. Approved April 29, 1931 XXI SPECIAL ACTS 217

This allowed for the creation of a fire district within Easton which could raise taxes to pay the water company for its water to supply fire hydrants where public water was available. On January 8, 1948, the Easton Fire District No 1, Inc. was created under and pursuant to the General Statutes of the State of Connecticut, as amended, to provide fire protection and to raise taxes to pay for such fire protection.

The Fire District is defined as those Easton properties lying within 1,000 feet of the water mains of the Aquarion Water Company (Bridgeport Hydraulic Company). With increased development in Easton, the water system and the District was extended to include contiguous areas. It is expected that the availability of fire hydrants will have a favorable effect on insurance costs as well as more certain supplies of water to fight fires.

Section 7-324 of the Connecticut General statutes passed in 1957 grand fathered in all such districts.

The Fire District functions as a separate government within the town of Easton and elects its own Officers: Clerk, Treasurer, Tax Collector and Assessor at it’s annual meeting in late June. At that meeting, the budget is set and a mill rate is established based on expenses and the determined value of the District Grand List.

Expenses consist almost entirely of a fee paid to the Aquarion water company for hydrant service and the availability of water for those hydrants. In 2019 the service fee was approximately $192,000. In 2019, the grand list for the district was approximately $500 million (the town’s grand list in 2019 was $1.29 billion). 

Notice of the district’s annual meeting is published in a newspaper of record in the Town of Easton. Further information is listed on the Easton website, Assessor’s page, under Easton Fire District No. 1.

All payments must be made directly to: 
Jack Johnston
Easton Fire District No. 1 Tax Collector
P.O. Box 73
Easton, CT  06612 

There is no other place where payments will be accepted. (Please DO NOT drop off at Town Hall as payments are not collected or processed by the Town of Easton.)

This cleared up some questions I had and I hope you will find the information helpful as well.

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