Jennifer Riley Thornberry: Mill levy necessary

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To the editor:

I am writing to voice my support of Referendum 4A, Craig Rural Fire Protection District's, request for a mill levy increase. As we have all been reading, the Fire District has been operating on a budget with one of the lowest mill levies in the state. To supplement the revenue generated by property taxes, they have used all sources of grant monies available to them. But during the last grant cycle, the Department of Local Affairs indicated that they must demonstrate financial support from the community to obtain more grant funding. So the time has come for them to increase their mill levy for necessary capital improvements.

The fire district's Board of Directors has proven that they are fiscally responsible. Fifteen years ago, the board voted to lower the district's mill levy because they had too much revenue. Then the TABOR amendment was passed requiring all taxing entities to have mill levy increases approved by the voters. Voting to increase the mill levy this November would give the district an additional $320,000 per year to begin replacing aging equipment and fire trucks. In keeping their equipment up to date, they are also maintaining their ISO rating (a safety rating used by insurance companies). If this ISO rating were to drop, insurance companies could be forced to raise property owners' insurance premiums.

Our firefighters are committed to protecting the people in our county. They are trained to respond to any number of emergencies, but without the proper equipment, our safety, as well as their own, is in jeopardy. I am encouraging everyone to vote for Referendum 4A so we can demonstrate our commitment to the firefighters in the Craig Rural Fire Protection District.

Jennifer Riley Thornberry

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