Voters approve mill levy increase for North Routt Fire | SteamboatToday.com

Voters approve mill levy increase for North Routt Fire

North Routt Fire Protection Chief Mike Swinsick stands next to a new truck that will replace the district's 1972 engine.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The results of a special May 8 mail-in ballot election are now official and reveal that voters overwhelmingly approved a mill levy increase for North Routt Fire Protection District.

"It will put apparatus for sure out the door, and quicker,” said Chuck Vale, who advocated for the tax increase as part of Friends of North Routt Fire Protection District. “Then, volunteers will show up on scene or show up at a fire station to bring extra equipment. It really just augments the volunteers."

The 4.0 mill levy increase was approved by a more than four-to-one margin with 364 voting in favor of the measure and 82 voting against it. The approximately $141,000 that will be generated by the tax increase will be used to fund a full-time assistant fire chief and two half-time firefighter/emergency medical technicians.

A second measure, which was also approved, allows the North Routt Fire Protection District to adjust the mill levy annually by an amount sufficient to offset changes in revenue due to the Gallagher Amendment without holding a special election.

Gallagher has negatively impacted the budgets of many taxing entities like rural fire protection districts. In North Routt, Gallagher has resulted in a 28-percent decrease in property tax revenue compared to 2010, or about $70,000.

"If the legislature finally gets it (Gallagher) fixed, this measure would just go away," Vale explained.

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Voters also elected Steven Warnke and Jim Standish to the fire district board of directors. The two men ran unopposed.

Warnke collected 396 votes, and Jim Standish received 391 votes.

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.