In our series examining upcoming ballot issues, today we look at the Northwest Fire Protection District. They actually have two proposed levy increases scheduled to go before voters in April. Question 1 on the ballot is a request for a 23-cent tax increase. It would allow for maintaining basic operations and some additional benefits for the firefighters. That would include purchasing new turnout gear and scba equipment.
That’s district treasurer Paul Arnsmeyer. He says approval of question two would allow for much-needed equipment upgrades, including construction and renovations on some of their station houses.
All of that equipment could be purchased with the approval of question 2 on the ballot. It also has to be stored indoors, which would require additional construction or renovations on the station houses, which would also be covered with approval of the levy increase.
In crafting the two proposals, the district worked with an ISO consultant to develop a core plan that they believe will lower their ISO ratings and possibly insurance rates for customers, offsetting some of the increased taxes.
Since their inception, the Northwest District has never had a levy increase. They operate five stations and cover 175 square miles in Camden, Benton, and Hickory counties. Each of the two increases will be voted on separately. Either could pass, both could pass, or both could be rejected. Voters will decide on April 3rd.