Measure 5A placed on the ballot by Lake Dillon Fire Protection District was passed by Summit County voters with 63 percent voting in favor of the mill levy increase.
The unofficial tally was 4,863 votes in favor of the measure with 2,930 against.
"We would like to thank the voters for their unwavering support of our firefighters, fire-prevention team and the administration at Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue," said chief Dave Parmley. "While we know that tax increases are never popular, we are gratified by the backing of the community in helping Lake Dillon Fire offset the budget cuts anticipated with the next round of property assessments. We deeply appreciate the value our residents place on the emergency services, preparation and planning that we provide."
The measure asked voters to raise property taxes by approximately $550,000 annually to sustain operations at the fire department.
The measure will increase taxes beginning in January by roughly $5.90 for every $100,000 of property value. The department currently collects about $66 for every $100,000 of actual property value.
According to Lake Dillon Fire Protection District board president Jerry Peterson, the ballot question passed with minimal campaigning.
"We couldn't be more delighted with the vote. The support of our community is truly heartwarming," Peterson stated in a press release Tuesday night. "And to those voters who opposed the measure, we heard your voices, too, and of course we will continue to operate the department through conservative budgeting and a sharp red pencil toward any extraneous, unnecessary costs. We want everyone to be happy with the services that we provide and take pride and comfort in having a great fire department."
The department, which derives approximately 90 percent of its revenue through property taxes, cut $1.2 million out of its 2012 budget because of diminished property values and is facing further cuts, according to Steve Lipsher, public information officer.
The additional funding from the measure will go toward salaries, benefits, training, firefighting equipment, public education and facilities for Lake Dillon Fire, according to Lipsher.
The department's board of directors placed the question on the ballot because it faces another 5 to 6 percent budget cut in the latest rounds of property assessments, on top of a 19 percent cut based on the previous biannual assessments.
Passage of the measure restores the department's funding to 2011 levels, still well below the high-water mark in 2009, according to Lipsher.
In an editorial Oct. 31, the Lake Dillon Fire Protection District board of directors said the increases in resident population, vehicular traffic and the prevalence of wildfire outbreaks, make it "paramount to make this tax-rate increase now."