Polk Fire No. 1 will ask voters for funding in May

INDEPENDENCE — Polk County residents in the Monmouth and Independence areas will see two requests coming from Polk County Fire District No. 1 this May: A bond and a levy.   Last November, the district asked voters to approve a five-year, approximately $3 million levy for operational costs, increased personnel and replacement of equipment and apparatus. It would have cost taxpayers 60 cents per $1,000 assessed value.   “After the negative vote, we reassessed,” said PCFD No. 1 Interim Fire Chief John Stein. “Our needs have not changed any. We still require an operation levy to continue existing services.”   Tax revenue to the district is still going down because of the recession, either because of decreased property taxes or because people have not been able to pay them, Stein said.   The district’s contingency fund, which is about $740,000 this year, is just enough to pay bills from summer, when the fiscal year ends, to fall, when property taxes are again collected. During that time, the fire district receives no revenue at all, Stein said.    To make the financial requests more affordable, the fire district board recently decided to ask for both an operation levy and a general obligation bond.   The five-year levy will be used to maintain services, and not to add personnel, Stein said.   The 15-year bond will be used to replace aged equipment.   If both the levy and bond receive voter approval, it will cost taxpayers an additional 34 cents per $1,000 of assessed value.   


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