Property Owners Challenge Fire District Fees

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Jackson, Miss.

The U.S. Supreme Court will consider May 15 whether to hear an appeal about Mississippi fire protection districts charging a fee for its services to local property owners.

Court officials say a decision could be announced shortly after the court conference.

A Hancock County judge ruled in 2012 the Diamondhead Fire Protection District had authority to assess fees for "services rendered" and the monthly fee was not a tax. The Mississippi Supreme Court upheld Clark's decision last year.

The district charges local property owners a monthly fee for fire protection services. It also gets public funds.

The property owners sued in 2009 arguing the fee was an impermissible tax.

The district says the fees help it maintain and repair equipment and have certified and experienced firefighters on duty.