Voters approve Palisade fire district tax hike
Voters in the Palisade Rural Fire Protection District overwhelmingly approved a property tax increase Tuesday that will help pay for a new fire station and cover the increased cost of emergency services.
Residents gave the go-ahead to a 3-mill hike, 65 percent to 30 percent (443 votes to 206), according to unofficial results.
Referred Measure 3A will increase property taxes on a home valued at $200,000 from $51.82 a year to just short of $100 a year.
Fire district treasurer Maggie Somerville said she was relieved by the tax measure’s passage and credited volunteer firefighters for going door-to-door advocating for the tax increase.
“We just told the truth,” she said. “We didn’t ask for more money than we needed.”
The fire district said it was in need of the money because the closure of Xcel Energy’s Cameo Power Plant at the end of the year will strip away about $50,000 in revenue, which makes up about 40 percent of the district’s annual total tax revenue. The district contracts with the Palisade Fire Department to provide fire protection and ambulance service to roughly 500 homes in an 8-square-mile area between Rapid Creek and 35.3 Road.
Without the additional money, the district wouldn’t have been able to come up with its share of the money needed to build a new fire station at the Palisade Civic Center. The district is expected to pay for half of the estimated $3.8 million price tag.
Somerville predicted rejection of the tax increase also would have resulted in more expensive ambulance rides and turnover in the Fire Department.