Posts Tagged Hampshire Fire Protection District seeks tax increase

Hampshire Fire Protection District news (more)

Excerpts from the

With the approval of a referendum to set a tax rate that would add $236,000 to the Hampshire Fire Protection District’s budget, officials are looking to add staff and replace outdated vehicles.

Deputy Fire Chief Trevor Herrmann said the district has taken more than 1,200 calls this year, about 200 of which occurred when the crew was handling multiple calls at once. With the referendum’s passage, the district will increase its personnel levels from four firefighter/paramedics to five every shift starting June 1.

The district will be looking to add between three and five new crew members.

Any revenue left over will go toward the replacement of one of the district’s ambulances and fire engines. The district’s secondary ambulance is 11 years old, while its secondary fire engine is 21 years old.

These investments will not come without a cost to taxpayers. For the owner of a $200,000 home, the new tax rate would amount to an estimated $67 increase in the fire district’s portion of his or her property tax bill. The referendum narrowly advanced in the primary election, winning by a margin of only three votes, 552-549. It then received about 52 percent of the vote in the Nov. 6 election.

Leading up to the election, School District 300 put its support behind the referendum because of its strong partnership with the fire protection district and the reliability it has shown to students and staff.


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Hampshire Fire Protection District news (more)

Excerpts from the

After two failed attempts, the Hampshire Fire Protection District will try again this fall for a property tax increase.

If approved by voters, a binding referendum question on the Nov. 6 ballot would allow the fire district to levy a 0.1 percent tax to create an emergency and rescue fund. The new tax would generate an additional $236,000 to go toward replacing aging equipment and increasing staffing levels, Deputy Chief Trevor Herrmann said.

The owner of a $200,000 home would pay an additional $67 per year in property taxes.

The sole fire station at 202 Washington Ave. is staffed with five people about 25 percent of the time, while all other shifts are covered by four people. To handle a rising number of calls, the district wants to increase its personnel levels to five or six for every shift. That would mean hiring about five additional part-time firefighters. The district currently has six full-time employees and 34 part-timers.

Adding on-duty firefighters around the clock is helpful if crews are called to two or more incidents at once, as was the case nearly 200 times last year. They respond to more than 1,200 calls annually.

Additionally, some revenue generated by the new tax would be used to purchase new apparatus — including a $600,000 fire engine and a $200,000 ambulance — in the next few years. Officials also are seeking grants to help offset new equipment costs.

Similar proposals for a tax increase were shot down by voters in the past two elections. This time around, the district is using social media, community meetings and a citizen committee to help spread the word.

During the district’s first tax hike attempt in 2017, officials also failed to pass a second referendum question seeking a 0.15 percent tax. That extra revenue would have been used to open a second fire station in a rented space near Route 20 and Interstate 90 — an area experiencing economic growth. They now are working on a plan to build a second station on the north side of the district without having to ask taxpayers for more money.

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Hampshire Fire Protection District news

Excerpts from the

If you think spending an extra 46 cents a day would provide peace of mind against the possibility of your house or business going up in flames, you’ll vote yes to a pair of referendum questions from the Hampshire Fire Protection District that would equate to a tax increase of about $167 annually to a taxpayer with a $200,000 home.

Hampshire’s sole fire station on Washington Avenue is staffed with four firefighters at any one time. Deputy Chief Trevor Herrmann would prefer six people on duty, and he’ll have that if the tax increase is approved.

With an extra $480,000, Herrman would rent space near Route 20 and Interstate 90 for two extra firefighters and a paramedic engine to better cover that portion of the 42-square-mile district. Last year the district responded to 1,175 calls, and 350 of them were in that northern part of the district. Response time ranged from 8 to 16 minutes. Adding firefighters at that second location would reduce response by half, authorities say.

The calls for service last year were the most in the department’s history. All told, 475 were fire-related. The added funds wouldn’t be just for new staff; they’ll also go toward replacing a $300,000 tanker and a $250,000 ambulance in the next few years.

If you placed one of the 1,175 calls for service in 2016, we’re fairly certain you’ll vote yes. The rest of the district residents should follow suit.

thanks Ron

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