The Banks Fire District. Photo: Brenda Schaffer

BANKS - The taxpayer-funded Banks Fire District 13 will place on the ballot in this May’s election a five-year $2.7 million local option levy that would raise property taxes earmarked for the district 35 cents from the current 62 cents for a total of 97 cents per $1,000 of assessed value.

Voters approved a local option levy in 2005, which was renewed twice in 2010 and 2015, but the cost of equipment and services has increased significantly since the original levy passed, and Banks Fire hasn’t asked voters for a funding increase in 14 years.

BFD has a service area that encompasses 136 square miles across the communities of Banks, Manning, Buxton, and Timber.

If passed, the levy would remain in place from 2020 through 2025. BFD Public Information Officer Scott Adams said talk is that the fire district will not have to ask for future increases in the foreseeable future.

“This local option levy is projected to last us for several five-year cycles,” Adams wrote via email.

“We passed a ($4 million) bond in 2017 (to build a new fire station in Buxton), but this (new levy would be used) for day-to-day services, like utilities, electricity -- things the district needs to operate,” Banks Fire District Chief Rodney Linz said.  

The revenue from the 2019 levy would enable Banks Fire to continue to staff the main fire station 24 hours-per-day, to maintain funding for volunteers -- all of whom give their time back to the Banks community  -- enrolled in EMT/paramedic or firefighting college courses, to fund fire prevention and life safety education initiatives, and to continue public outreach programs such as CPR training and smoke detector installations.