Snake River voters agree to increases for fire protection |

Snake River voters agree to increases for fire protection

by Reid Williams

KEYSTONE – Voters approved an increase in property taxes for the Snake River Fire Protection District by a definitive 25 percent Tuesday.

In question was a 1.5 mill hike to property taxes fire officials said was needed to meet rising demands on service in the river basin. Election Ballot Issue A garnered 125 yes votes and 75 no votes.

“We’re certainly very pleased with the results and the support,” said Fire Chief Dave Parmley. “Now we have a job to do for the citizens and the homeowners in the basin.”

Electors also re-instated two directors to the fire district’s board. Jaculin Obrigewitsch earned 140 votes Tuesday, and J. David Zaitz captured 151 votes. The pair ran unopposed.

According to Snake River Fire Chief Dave Parmley, new developments in the department’s district forced them to add staff to maintain appropriate protection for homeowners. Parmley said the district’s reserve fund has been depleted the past few years because of additional costs such as 911 communications services and projects at the jointly funded High Country Fire Training Center in Frisco.

“This gives the board the flexibility we need to work with the budget to make sure that we’re meeting critical needs,” Parmley said.

The 1.5 mill property tax increase will help fund general operating and capital expenses for the district, beginning in 2003. Property taxes for homeowners within the district will increase about $12 for every $100,000 of value with the property tax raise. The increase will bring in about another $300,000 in its first year. Parmley said the tax money also will pay for safety gear for firefighters, the volunteer firefighters’ pension fund.

The increase will raise the district’s general fund mill levy from 5.402 to 6.902 mills. But the Snake River Fire District’s board of directors also plans to lower the district’s 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. Thirty volunteers and 12 professional firefighters staff the department’s three stations.

Reid Williams can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 237 or

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