Town and fire officials voted this month to begin transferring the Wake Forest Fire Department to the town government, a process that could be complete next summer.
The Wake Forest Board of Commissioners and the Wake Forest Fire Board still will need to agree to specific terms of the merger. Town and fire officials will organize committees to work on the transition and that agreement in the coming months.
The change could cost the town as much as $1 million in the first year, requiring property taxes to increase by possibly 3 cents next year, in order to provide increased salaries and benefits to about 90 employees.
The unification of the fire department with the town ends nearly 100 years of the department operating as a private nonprofit. The fire department was established in 1921 and while it receives most of its funding from the town, it is administered by a separate board.