Subscription dues revenue has decreased significantly from previous years for a local Kentucky fire department as the deadline nears.

Milton Fire and Rescue sent out subscription letters in November asking residents to subscribe for an entire year's worth of fire services, Chief Jason Long said. But, only about 10 percent of the subscriptions have been paid. Usually the department receives many more paid dues by the deadline. Subscriptions for the 2013 drive are due Dec. 31.

"Usually we get about 50 percent back," Long said.

The fire department is funded by subscriptions and does not tax residents for operating costs. Annual letters are sent asking residents of deeded properties to pay subscription dues to cover costs should the fire and rescue crews respond to their property.

"This is what we use to operate," he said.

Of nearly 3,000 properties that the Milton Fire and Rescue covers, fewer than 225 subscriptions have been returned.

Subscription letters were sent out earlier than usual this year, Long said. The letters also had a slightly different look to them this year since the department chose to work with a company to send the subscription letters.

Subscription dues also increased, yet the subscription process remained the same as previous years.

"We raised (dues) from $35 to $40 because of (operating costs) going up," Long said.

The subscription provides 24-hour coverage in the Milton area for emergency fire response to residences and roadway accidents. The fire department will respond to any fire emergency on the deeded property including house, brush and machinery fires, which otherwise might cost residents $500 or more per response.

The subscription also provides coverage to vehicle accidents in the Milton area, which could cost anywhere from $1,000 or more per response depending on services rendered, Long said. Residents who choose not to subscribe to fire services will be charged each time the department responds to a deeded property.

Subscriptions for residents start at $40. Subscriptions for businesses begin at $50. Residents may choose to send letters back to the department by mail to Milton Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department, P.O. Box 256, Milton, Ky., 40045, pay subscription dues at the Farmers Bank of Milton or online at www.miltonfireandrescue.org. All dues are tax-deductible, Long said.

For more information on subscriptions, contact the department at (502) 268-3016. Information about the Milton Volunteer Fire Department is also available online at www.miltonfireandrescue.org and on Facebook and Twitter.