Fire department schedules mill levy meetings

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The Craig Rural Fire District will be hosting two town meetings to present its arguments concerning a mill levy increase. The district is asking voters to approve on May 7 a $550,000 increase to its yearly budget.

The election will include only those voters who live within the Craig Rural Fire District. The Craig Rural Fire District is a 120-square-mile zone that encompasses the city of Craig and some outlying areas. It handles fire suppression and emergency services for the city of Craig and a few outlying communities.

The meetings are scheduled for 7 p.m. April 22 and 29 at the fire station. The meetings should last about an hour, allowing time for the actual presentation and then a question-and-answer session. The district is also organizing presentations for some local service clubs and residents at Sunset Meadows, Fire Chief Roy Mason said.

"We'll use the same format we did (at the March meeting)," he said. "Basically the information will be the same we've added a couple of things to help with clarification. The training center seems to be becoming a focus, but it only makes up 14 percent of the proposed increase. Most of the money is needed for operations, maintenance, replacement and full-time employees."

The district now has a budget of $420,000 based on a mill levy of 1.997.

The district is asking for an increase of 2.4 mills the requested $550,000 per year at the present property value level. The increase would provide $12.3 million for maintenance and operations, vehicle replacement and the gradual creation of a full-time fire-fighting unit while also providing $1.5 million to fund the construction of a comprehensive training station.

The additional 2.4 mills would not fluctuate as the 1.997 mills the fire district receives now do. The additional $550,000 would stay constant as property values fluctuate and so would the tax load on each taxpayer.

The way the original 1.997 mills fluctuate means the total amount received by the fire district changes but not the tax load.

Input to Craig Fire/Rescue since the first public meeting on March 22 has mostly positive, Mason said.

"We've heard mixed reactions, with a lot of good responses," Mason said. "Everyone I've spoken to has been positive, but we have had a couple of individuals who wouldn't identify themselves call in to raise Cain. I personally haven't had one person call and talk badly about our plan."

For more information about the meetings, or about the proposed mill levy increase itself, contact Craig Fire Chief Roy Mason at the Craig Rural Fire District Station at 419 Yampa Ave., 824-5914.

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