Snake Fire District to put 1.5 mill levy increase on May 7 ballot |

Snake Fire District to put 1.5 mill levy increase on May 7 ballot

Jane Reuter

KEYSTONE<Property taxes for homeowners within the Snake River Fire Protection District will increase $12 for every $100,000 of value under a proposed mill levy increase.Voters will decide the issue May 7.The 1.5 mill property tax increase will help fund general operating and capital expenses for the district, beginning in 2003.The extra money that increase will bring will be about $300,000 in its first year alone and will help the fire department maintain service levels. Without it, those service levels could drop, said Snake River Fire Chief Dave Parmley.3It1s not to expand service or add positions, he said. 3Our reserve fund has decreased over the past few years. And we1ve got some additional costs<making sure we take care of our share of the cost for the 911 communications services and the classroom project at the High Country (fire) Training Center.3We1ve taken in a lot of new growth in the way of additional buildings and population. Our call load is still in the reach of 750 a year, but certainly, it1s been challenging. The other factor is that from a staffing standpoint, we1ve had to put additional personnel on to keep a good minimum coverage of response.Without the additional funds, 3It will certainly make the job much more difficult, Parmley said.3We1re trying to keep the same level of service in place, to where we may eventually have to make some reductions in the budget, he said. 3We1re fortunate we have response times within five minutes, on average. We think that1s what the public expects and deserves. If we faced reductions, it could have an impact.If approved by voters, the increase would take the district1s general fund mill levy from 5.402 to 6.902 mills. But the Snake River Fire District1s board of directors also plans to lower the district1s bond fund mill levy by .209 mills. That decrease, combined with the proposed increase, amounts to an overall net increase to the combined district mill levy of 1.291 mills.The Snake River Fire Protection District includes the town of Montezuma, Keystone Resort and the neighborhoods of Summerwood and Summit Cove.People living within the district who aren1t registered to vote have until April 8 to do so. Eligible voters must own property and have lived within the fire district for at least 30 days.

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