Voters in the Fort Lewis Mesa Fire Protection District approved a property tax increase and a measure to free the district from the limits of the Gallagher Amendment, according to unofficial results Tuesday, which showed both measures winning by a two-to-one margin.
Allowing Fort Lewis Mesa Fire District to increase mill levy
The fire district sought the tax increase and asked voters to “de-Gallagher” as a means of returning revenue to a department that has seen a loss of funding year-over-year. As a result of adjustments required by the state constitutional amendment – known as the Gallagher Amendment – Fort Lewis Mesa Fire Protection District lost $30,000 in revenue in 2017.
The mill increase will result in an additional $18 per year for every $100,000 in assessed value on a home.
The district covers western La Plata County, including Hesperus, Kline, Marvel and Redmesa.
The new money will restore the district to about 2015 revenue levels and will be used to recruit and retain volunteer firefighters, recover operating funds lost from property tax adjustments, repair and replace aging equipment, maintain and improve facilities, improve water storage and respond to an increased call volume.
“I think it’s a good indication that our district wants us to be relevant and viable for the foreseeable future and is interested in funding training and offer equipment,”said Fort Lewis Mesa Fire Protection District Chief John Lee. “I think it’s very positive for us.”