Opinion: Support the Fire District with Ideas, Funds

Kiowa County Courthouse
Published Wednesday, March 22, 2017

by Jeanne Sorensen

We Need a Fire District. This is a topic that has been going around Kiowa County in recent days. This discussion is not new and has taken place for several years. It has come to the front burner again because of the drought and extreme fire danger along with the devastating wildfires not only in Colorado but to our neighbors to the south and southeast in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. Not only pasture and cropland lost, but human and animal as well.

We have a FIRE DISTRICT. In the General Election of 2016 on the ballot in Kiowa County were the  questions --

5A: Shall the Kiowa County Fire Protection District be formed YES   NO   The Results: 5A - YES 572  NO 298 ( Voters approved to have a Fire District )

5B: Shall the Kiowa County Fires Protection District taxes be increased by $147,263 and by whatever additional amounts are raised annually thereafter, by a mill levy of not more than 3.5 mills YES   NO   The Results: 5B - YES 410  NO 467 ( Voters voted down using a mill levy to fund the Fire District)

5C: Without increasing taxes, shall the Kiowa County Fire Protection District be authorized to collect, retain and spend all revenues and other funds collected from any and all revenue sources including, without limitation, state grants, private donations, authorized fees and voter approved taxes YES   NO The Results: 5C - YES 585  NO 285 ( Voters approved to fund the Fire District through revenue sources such as grants and private donations)

KIOWA COUNTY HAS A FIRE DISTRICT. So that is not an issue. Funding is the issue. If citizens want to place again on the ballot funding by raising the mill levy that's all fine and good. But- One- that is at least 7 months off ( and a year from when a Fires District was voted in) and -Two- a mill levy should not be the only source of funding.

 Voters approved a Fire District and a method of funding...Grants, private donations and fund raisers

The Fire District has three board of Directors Jay D. Specht, Terry Riley, and Delton Eikenberg and 2 at large Marvin Watson and Teresa Witte. If you have ideas about how to get the Fire District up and running share your ideas with them.  They will more than appreciate it. There will be a greater chance of a mill levy passing when citizens see a group actively pursuing ways to raise funds than those sitting around whining we need - we want.