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Fire district levy defeated at polls

November 06, 2013

INDEPENDENCE - Polk County Fire District No. 1 did all it could to inform the public of its need for new funding, but voters turned down the district's tax levy request during Tuesday's vote-by-mail special election.

Measure 27-110, a 60 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value tax, was the first levy proposed by Polk Fire No. 1 since its 2004 levy asking for 77 cents per $1,000 - that levy passed and expired in 2010.

Losing by a margin of 55.9 percent to 44 percent, many district residents felt they had been taxed enough, said Neal Olson, PCFD training and operations division chief, and they couldn't afford this new levy.

Residents in Monmouth and Independence already passed their own bonds in the May election, and with the Polk County public safety levy, Measure 27-109, falling on the same ballot, voters decided that Polk Fire No. 1 should work with what it has.

That may not be an option for much longer - if residents want the same level of service, Olson said.

"There's the statement 'Do more with less.' Well, we can't do more with less," he said. "We're to the point where we have to do less. Some services are going to be reduced."

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