Fire district seeks tax increase

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Eagle Rock-Golden-Mano Fire Protection District is asking voters in its service area to approve a one-tenth of a cent tax increase during the upcoming April election.

"Our tax revenue has been flat for the last three or four years," said Steve Gash, Eagle Rock-Golden-Mano Fire Protection District chief. "But the costs of fuel, insurance, workman's compensation insurance, personal protection equipment and to equip and train firefighters and first responders has gone up.

"Grant funds have decreased significantly," continued Gash. "The age of our department's vehicles range from 12 to 25 years. Some our personal protection equipment and SBA (self-contained breathing apparatus) units are 10 years old. It is getting harder and hard to keep things up to date."

Gash said that the department is now at a point when it must weigh the costs associated with repairing vehicles and equipment and compare those costs to the price of purchasing new equipment.

"When there is an accident in our area, the ETA (estimated time of arrival) for an ambulance is 20 to 25 minutes just because of our geography,' said Gash. "That makes our first responders very important."

The Eagle Rock-Golden-Mano Fire Protection District last requested a tax levy increase over a dozen years ago, said Gash. That request was for a 30 cent tax. The district's current tax is set at $0.292.

If the one-tenth of a cent tax increase is approved, the district will collect between $40,000 and $50,000 in additional revenue each year.

The Eagle Rock-Golden-Mano Fire Protection District Board meets on the second Tuesday of each month. The meetings, which are open to the public are held at Eagle Rock Fire Station #1 at 7 p.m.

Gash encourages community members to attend an upcoming meeting to learn more about the proposed tax increase and the district's needs.

"We will also be meeting with the Eagle Rock Community Association and offering information in other ways," said Gash. "We offer a breakfast on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month, and we have been talking to people about the tax increase during those events.

The Eagle Rock Fire Protection District serves an area that encompasses 108 square miles.

Other tax issues

Voters who live in the Exeter Road District will also decide a tax issue in April. The road district is asking residents to approve the continuation of its one-thirteenth of a cent tax levy for four more years.

Other tax issues will impact voters who live in the Aurora and Pierce City Fire Protection Districts and the Aurora School District and those who are served by the Northern Stone and Northeaster Barry County Fire Protection District.

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